Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic delivers a keynote speech at a concert marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sept. 21, 2019. Vucic hailed China as the most honest and trustworthy friend of his country in Belgrade on Saturday. (Photo by Predrag Milosavljevic/Xinhua)
BELGRADE, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic hailed China as the most honest and trustworthy friend of his country at a concert marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Belgrade on Saturday.
In a keynote speech at the concert, Vucic congratulated on PRC's founding anniversary and hailed China's development achievements, highlighting the tremendous benefits Serbia harvested by joining the Belt and Road Initiative.
Recalling Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit in 2016, Vucic said that the trip has created a foundation for the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Serbia and China, which significantly helped solve Serbia's economic hardship.
"We are in the process of negotiation and we are expecting the arrival of many more Chinese companies in Serbia in different fields, from energy, industry, contemporary innovative technologies and artificial intelligence," he said.
Vucic also praised the increasing arrivals of Chinese tourists in Serbia and joint police patrols that have been recently introduced in Belgrade.
In a statement for Xinhua earlier, Vucic said that China's impressive achievements represent a great wonder, believing that China's leadership will continue to lead China into an "extraordinary future."
He said Serbia is part of the BRI, adding that "we have been profiting a lot from that initiative, especially when it comes to some key economic projects that we implement with China, and based on which we are conceiving our own future."
The joint concert of Serbian and Chinese artists at Sava Center also saw the presence of Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, as well as Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo, attracting thousands of visitors and high-level guests.
During Chen's speech, she said that these 70 years, though just a short period within the thousands of years of China's history, are marked by extraordinary successful development that "significantly contributed to peace and progress in the world."
She highlighted China's breakthrough in economy, poverty reduction, and contribution to the global economic growth, stressing that such positive trend continues despite the rising global protectionism and economic slowdown.
"As the largest developing country, China is aware of its responsibility towards the world and is decisively following its path of peaceful development," she said.
Chen said that the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) marked a new era in relations between China and Serbia, noting many infrastructure projects, company acquisitions and greenfield investments involved Chinese investors.
Brnabic also praised the improvement of living standards in China over the years, as well as the competitiveness it had achieved, and underlined China is one of the "strongest partners of Serbia."
"There is a bond of friendship like steel between China and Serbia, and many high-level meetings frequented the past few years. It is something that we highly appreciate here in Serbia and we are so happy for China's progress," she told Xinhua.
Stefanovic said that China's success can be attributed to diligent work, investment in people, and immense efforts, describing Serbia's relations with China as "equal to the brotherhood."
"I am very glad that Chinese people had proven that their hard work and efficiency can shape China into probably the most important country in the world and one of the strongest economies of the world," he said.
The concert, titled "Steel-like Friendship for Joint Prosperity," consisted of classical and folk songs performed by ensembles from China and Serbia, including the choir, solo performances with traditional Chinese instruments, and Serbian folklore ensemble "Kolo."