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English>>Foreign Affairs

Chinese president arrives in Serbia for state visit

(Xinhua)    20:55, June 17, 2016

BELGRADE, June 17 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Friday for a state visit to Serbia as China seeks to carry forward traditional friendship and step up economic engagement with Serbia.

It is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Serbia in 32 years, and Xi's second trip -- following one to the Czech Republic in March -- to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in less than three months.

During his stay in Serbia, Xi will meet his counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, and other Serbian political leaders for discussions on bilateral relations, the Belt and Road Initiative and China-CEE cooperation, as well as global and regional hot-spot issues of common concern.

A number of cooperation deals covering economy, trade, industrial capacity and finance are expected to be inked.

In a demonstration of China's willingness to consolidate political mutual trust and expand practical cooperation with CEE countries, Xi will travel from Serbia to Poland for a state visit.

China and Serbia share a time-honored traditional friendship. In 2009, Serbia became the first CEE country to establish a strategic partnership with China.

Nikolic paid a state visit to China in 2013. Last year, he went to Beijing again to attend the commemorative activities marking the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Serbia also dispatched a formation to participate in China's V-Day military parade on Sept. 3, 2015.

Two-way trade grew by 2.3 percent year on year to 550 million U.S. dollars in 2015, according to Chinese customs.

Also last year, Serbia signed a memorandum of understanding with China to jointly promote the connectivity-based Belt and Road Initiative during the fourth leaders' meeting of China and 16 CEE countries, which was held in Suzhou, China.

The initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

After Serbia and Poland, the Chinese president will travel to Uzbekistan for a state visit as well as the 16th meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State in Tashkent.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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