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Premier calls for joint approach with Serbia

An Baijie
Updated: Nov 27,2015 7:13 AM     China Daily

China and Serbia should work together to implement key agreements, Premier Li Keqiang said on Nov 26.

He and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic witnessed the signing of seven documents covering areas including highways and cooperation on industrial parks.

The two countries should combine to implement agreements on railways, roads and power stations, and China is willing to link its development strategy with Serbia’s, Premier Li said.

He made the remarks while meeting with Vucic in Beijing. The Serbian Prime Minister was paying an official visit to China after attending the Fourth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

The Chinese government encourages domestic companies to enhance cooperation on production capacity in areas including iron and steel to provide high-quality construction materials at low cost for Serbia’s infrastructure construction, Premier Li said.

He also said China wants to push forward with construction of industrial parks along the banks of the River Danube.

Vucic thanked Premier Li for his reception in Suzhou and Beijing, saying, “Serbian delegations have seldom received such an enthusiastic and hospitable reception in other countries.”

His country will push ahead with construction of a Serbian-Hungarian railway, and China is welcome to take part in building highways in Serbia along with industrial parks and steel plants, Vucic said.

On Nov 24, the two countries signed a contract to modernize and rebuild the Serbian section of the Serbian-Hungarian railway. The line will cut travel time between Belgrade and Budapest from eight hours to three.

During the meeting on Nov 26, China Road and Bridge Corp signed a memorandum of understanding with the Serbian government to develop a Chinese industrial park in Serbia.

The company also signed an initial agreement with the Serbian Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on building a highway.

Both nations signed agreements on the quarantine of beef products imported from Serbia, on education cooperation in the next five years, and on Chinese scientists taking part in assessing and appraising Serbian scientific projects.

Hebei Steel Group Ltd and the Serbian government signed a framework cooperation agreement.

This is expected to result in a contract being signed next year, according to Liu Haixing, director-general of the Department of European Affairs of the Foreign Ministry.

Liu made the remark when he was asked to comment on China’s participation in the privatization of Serbian state-owned enterprises.

“It would be an important direction for China-Serbia cooperation in the future,” he said.

Liu said the two countries have made considerable progress in cooperation projects, including power plants and highway construction.

“The Serbian prime minister also expressed willingness to step up cooperation with China on industrial park construction as well as cooperation in the iron and steel sector,” he said.

China and Serbia also signed a memorandum of understanding covering cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.

The strategy, put forward by the Chinese government, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It uses trade and investment to boost ties along the ancient trade routes and elsewhere.

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