China, Serbia Vow to Upgrade Strategic Partnership to New Level

China and Serbia on Wednesday agreed to continue to support each other on issues of core interests, further bilateral practical cooperation, realize common development, and upgrade strategic partnership to a new level.

The consensus was reached when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.

China attaches great importance to the ties with Serbia, Li said, adding that friendship, mutual trust and cooperation have become the main theme of bilateral relations.

Li called on both sides to reinforce infrastructure cooperation, promote major cooperation projects, and start the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway as soon as possible.

China and Serbia, he said, should encourage information sharing and project docking between enterprises and financial institutions from the two countries.

Referring to expanding agricultural trade and research collaboration, Li called for an early establishment of a network for promoting agricultural technological cooperation and turn the scientific results into productivity.

On lifting the level of bilateral trade and investment, the two sides should hold the 11th China-Serbia joint economic and trade committee meeting as soon as possible, the premier said.

Pledging to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and expand cooperation in education, culture and tourism, Li expected that the Serbian side will facilitate visa issuance for Chinese tourists.

Meanwhile, he expressed appreciation for Serbia's efforts in hosting the third leaders' meeting of China-CEE countries.

Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries is in line with interests of both sides, conforms to the common wish of the region and the peoples, and brings benefit to the comprehensive and balanced development of China-Europe relations, Li added.

Beijing stands ready to work with other CEE countries to promote the China-CEE cooperation and advance the China-Europe ties as well, he said, adding that they would continue to invite the European Union (EU) observers to attend the leaders' meeting, so as to maintain the openness and inclusiveness of the China-CEE cooperation.

Vucic, for his part, said Serbia will always be a reliable friend and partner of China.

He also thanked China for its long-term assistance and support to Serbia.

Serbia is willing to enhance interaction with China both on bilateral level and within the framework of the China-CEE cooperation and to implement consensus and agreements reached by both sides, he said.

Serbia will work with China and Hungary to speed up the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway project, he said, welcoming more investments from the Chinese business.

After the talks, Li and Vucic witnessed the signing of a number of cooperative agreements in the areas of economic and technical cooperation, energy, finance, aviation and culture.

Also on Wednesday, Li met the press jointly with Vucic. The Chinese leader stressed that the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway will vigorously scale up China-Europe trade, speed up the development of countries along the route and the entire Central and Eastern Europe, so as to boost the balanced development within Europe and enrich the China-EU comprehensive partnership.

Vucic, for his part, reaffirmed that Serbia is willing to further develop its strategic partnership with China on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and well implement various cooperative agreements with China.

The Serbian side will work with other related countries in the region to advance the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway and China-Europe land-sea express passage, the Serbian prime minister told the press.

Li arrived here Monday for the third China-CEE leaders' meeting, and an official visit to Serbia.

He flew to Serbia after wrapping up a visit to Kazakhstan in his three-nation trip, which will also take him to Thailand.

Source: Xinhua