China, Serbia sign strategic cooperation deal

BEIJING -- Serbian President Boris Tadić and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao met in Beijing on Thursday.

The two presidents agreed that deepening of traditionally friendly relations and establishment of a strategic partnership represented a joint goal of the two nations and one of their top interests.

A joint statement issued after the talks specifies that the two presidents reached broad consensus on the further boosting of different fields of cooperation between Serbia and China, as well as on various international and regional issues of mutual importance.

The collocutors gave their support for the territorial integrity of the two countries, and the Serbian party reiterated its commitment to the policy of one, united China, while the Chinese side underlined once again that it respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia.

Serbia, as it was pointed out, will not establish official relations or have any other kind of official ties with the authorities in Taiwan. Belgrade will continue to oppose any possible form of Taiwan's independence and it will continue to back the reuniting of China by way of peaceful means.

China, on the other hand, holds that the best way to resolve the issue of Kosovo status would be to draft a plan which would be acceptable for both parties and which would be achieved through dialogue and negotiations between the Serbian government and the temporary authority in Kosovo, all in keeping with international law and the objectives and the principles of the UN Charter and the resolutions of the Security Council.

China also supports the endeavors the people in Serbia are making on the country's development pathway and fully understands the problems they are faced with in that respect, the statement said, adding that Beijing understands the efforts Serbia is making to be admitted into the European family and appreciates the policy of Serbia that is aimed at the establishment of friendly relations with the neighboring countries, its efforts to help improve the stability and development of the Balkan region and the cooperation that exists between those countries.

Special attention was paid to the possibility of improving further the economic cooperation between the two countries, including the field of trade and investments. Intensified cooperation was also agreed upon when it comes to culture, education, sports, science, technology, army and police, as well in the field of tourism, civilian aviation, health care, media and non-governmental organizations, the statement said.

Also today, Serbian Economy Minister Mlađan Dinkić and Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming signed an agreement on economic and technological cooperation in infrastructure. The signing ceremony was attended by both presidents.

President addresses Beijing forum

Earlier on Wednesday, Tadić stated that of the agreement on strategic cooperation would provide for further promotion of ties between China and Serbia.

This would relate to all areas of the relations between the two countries, he was quoted as saying.

Tadić expressed his satisfaction over the fact that strengthening of relations with China had become one of the pillars of Serbia's foreign policy at the time when the world's geopolitical situation is being redefined.

Addressing participants of the Serbia-China Trade and Investment Forum on Thursday, Tadić underscored that strategic partnership between Serbia and China derives from a long standing friendship between the two countries.

"It is based, among other things, on Serbia's stand of principle on one China and on support you give to our efforts to defend our own integrity in Kosovo and Metohija in a peaceful way and with respect to international law," said Tadić.

"I particularly want to underscore that Serbia has had three pillars of its foreign policy over the past years - Brussels, Washington and Moscow," said Tadić, adding that he "may now confirm that Serbia had acquired its fourth pillar – Beijing".

Tadić will stay in China until August 25, where he will discuss with the country's top-ranking officials all aspects of bilateral cooperation, focusing on economic issues.

He proposed that the cooperation of the two economies should include building of a new modern port on the Danube and a duty free zone for Chinese companies' production activities.

Tadić will stay in China until August 25, where he will discuss with the country's top-ranking officials all aspects of bilateral cooperation, focusing on economic issues.