China-Serbia ironclad friendship result of mutual respect; excellent governance by CPC with promising prosperous future ahead: Serbian ambassador
Published: Oct 24, 2022 03:12 PM
Serbian Ambassador to China Maja Stefanovic  Photo: Courtesy of Stefanovic

Serbian Ambassador to China Maja Stefanovic Photo: Courtesy of Stefanovic

Serbian Ambassador to China Maja Stefanovic congratulated the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese leaders on the great achievements that have been made in all fields as the 20th National Congress of the CPC has concluded. She said Serbia is confident that the CPC Congress will bring new guideline for the further development of China, with a great positive impact on the world. 

By listing the many achievements of the CPC in the opening-up strategy and successful reforms that have borne fruitful results for the Chinese nation, Stefanovic said that under the leadership of the CPC and President Xi Jinping, China has achieved outstanding results in all fields of development and has become a leader and an engine of global development in recent years.

"We congratulate the Chinese people on achieving the first centennial goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We are confident that under the wise leadership of President Xi and the CPC, and its unity with the Chinese people, China will reach its second centennial goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects," Stefanovic told the Global Times in a recent interview.

"We admire the great success of China in eradicating absolute poverty in its territory, which has a great positive impact on the global level and is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are also confident that China will continue its growth on the basis of what's been outlined in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity on its path to the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," she said.

Stefanovic underlined that China had eliminated extreme poverty, which, she said, is a monumental accomplishment and China's great contribution to the world. 

"China has become the main engine of the world's economic growth", she noted.

Moreover, Serbia highly appreciates China's support of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, "a principle that should be respected and protected always in the same manner, regardless of what UN member states is applied to," said the ambassador. 

"Serbia supports the one-China policy in the same way. With full respect of international law and observing the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, Serbia and China have been striving toward peace and stability in the world," she reiterated.

Answering the question of Global Times, the ambassador underscored that China and Serbia cherish not only great and bright moments of friendship, but also share memories of hardships and tragedies that both countries have endured together during the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999,  leading to the loss of civilian life in both countries. 

"China and Serbia are bound by a traditional friendship that has been cherished and enriched over many decades. Although the two countries are distant in a geographic sense, relations between our nations have grown to an ironclad friendship that has withstood many hardships and challenges on the global level," the ambassador stressed.

"The basis for these extraordinarily good relations is excellent political relations between our countries, mutual understanding and support on the issues of core national interests for both countries, the striving of both countries toward peace and stability," she told the Global Times.

The ambassador appreciated China for extending its support and help to Serbia during the pandemic, calling China a "real friend," and the "first country to extend such much-needed help to Serbia."

"Serbian people will never forget the help of ordinary Chinese people, who had been waiting in lines in front of the Embassy of Serbia in Beijing in order to donate much-needed masks for faraway Serbian friends. That indeed is the meaning of true friendship," she said. 

Economic cooperation between China and Serbia has also developed in recent years, especially during the last decade. Trade volume between the two countries increased in recent years, whereas in the last five years only the Serbian export of agrifood to China increased 15-fold.

In order to continue the positive trend of trade growth between Serbia and China, the ambassador said their Serbia's priority is signing the FTA between the two countries in the near future. The designated teams of experts from both sides have already established contact.

Stefanovic restated Serbia's determination to further actively participate in the cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs). 

"Since the establishment of the China-CEECs cooperation, Serbia has been a very active and constructive partner within the mechanism. We believe that this cooperation can contribute the strategic partnership between China and the EU. Serbia stays ready to continue its active role in the mechanism," she noted.

The Belgrade-Budapest railway project is a flagship project within the China-CEECs cooperation platform. When finished, trains will run at a speed of up to 200 kilometers per hour between Belgrade and Budapest, bringing the Balkans closer to central Europe, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The ambassador said that joining the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has enabled Serbia to be more visible on the map of Chinese investors.

"The BRI is of utmost importance, especially in the light of current traditional and new security challenges on the global level and the necessity for the preservation of supply chains in all areas - through railway, maritime, and air transportation. With its inclusive character, the BRI is currently one of the most important ideas and tools that can enable us to reach the abovementioned goal, as it is based on commonality, comprehensiveness, and cooperation," she noted.

The envoy believes that Chinese investors in Serbia under the BRI framework benefit the economic development of Serbia, as it has secured thousands of jobs in some Serbian cities.

In July, China's Hainan Airlines launched direct flights from China to Serbia, which brings China even closer to Serbia, Xinhua reported. The ambassador said that based on this, bilateral cooperation will see further development in the years to come, especially having in mind visa free regime between the two countries, as well as the expected establishment of the direct flights operated by the Serbian national carrier "Air Serbia."