by Nemanja Cabric and Wang Huijuan
BELGRADE, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The long-awaited visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Serbia will reveal a new chapter of Serbia-China traditional friendship, and offer a chance of further economic cooperation, said Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic in an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of Xi's visit.
Nikolic first emphasized the profound and decades-old friendship between Serbia and China. He said the friendly bilateral relations are important to both countries and their people.
"The everlasting friendship cannot be influenced by changes of presidents or prime ministers," he added.
Nikolic said that he has always been paying great attention to relations with China ever since he was elected president in 2012. He expressed great expectation to Xi's upcoming visit, believing this visit will strengthen and promote the comprehensive development of bilateral relations.
Serbia and China signed a joint declaration on strategic partnership in 2009. During President Xi's visit, the two countries are expected to further enhance political and economic ties, according to Nikolic.
In past years, bilateral relations have been developing comprehensively, political and economic cooperation has also helped Serbia to elevate its international importance, said the Serbian president.
Serbia and China support each other's positions on issues concerning their core interests, he said.
In economy, the two countries have cooperated in many infrastructure projects with the help of Chinese loans and implementation, including highways, bridges and thermal power plants.
"Serbia has a tradition of production. The country gives high subsidies to investors and it has duty-free markets across the world. These are extraordinary reasons why Chinese investors should build their factories here -- we should jointly make products here and sell them in international market," Nikolic noted.
He suggested Chinese businessmen consider investing in Serbia's industry and food sector, as they are two very promising and fast-growing areas.
He also hoped the two nations can enhance communication and cooperation in science and technology, culture, and art.
Talking about China's Belt and Road Initiative and the "16+1 Cooperation" mechanism, Nikolic said that Serbia fits in the strategies and can play a very active role in them.
"We are on the route of 'the Belt and Road', and we also belong to the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Yet our bilateral relations will go beyond them," said Nikolic. "Serbia can become China's partner in the entire region."
The Serbian president said he was happy to see that bilateral cooperation is going on so well. "Friendship cannot be measured by money, but by time and history. Our friendship is as strong as the Great Wall of China," he concluded.
Xi to visit Serbia, Poland, Uzbekistan, attend SCO summit
BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay state visits to Serbia, Poland and Uzbekistan from June 17 to 22, the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.
Xi is invited by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement. Full Story