Chinese and Serbian presidents meet in Beijing

Chinese investments and infrastructure projects in Serbia are "of great importance for the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries."

Source: Beta, Tanjug
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This is what President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic concluded in Beijing on Monday, according to a statement from the Serbian Presidency.

Nikolic said during the meeting that big infrastructure projects - such as the start of the second phase at power plant Kostolac and the Belgrade-Budapest railroad - "give a strong impulse to economic cooperation between the two countries."

"The friendship between Serbia and China is traditional and we are very grateful that you are helping Serbia get on its feet," said Nikolic, and invited Xi to visit Serbia.

Stressing the importance of realizing road corridor projects - worth over EUR 1.4 billion - Nikolic asked Xi that the Chinese side "reconsiders the conditions of financing the project, in the sense of cutting interest rates and extending the payment deadline to 20 years."

In this way, he said, "Serbia will be able to efficiently and in the optimal manner fulfill its obligations."

"There are many areas in which the Chinese side could invest, including food processing and pharmaceutical industries, IT, truck and tractor manufacturing," Nikolic added, and informed his Chinese counterpart about the profitability of a Morava-Vardar canal (project), that would not only mean building five hydropower plants and irrigating 300,000 hectares of farming land, "but would also cut the waterway by 2,000 kilometers."

The Chinese president said his country would support Chinese investors to invest even more in Serbia, and agreed it was important to quickly and efficiently realize the Kostolac power plant and Belgrade-Budapest railroad projects.

"Financing conditions are important for every project and we will find a way to realize the job. Your side is welcome to suggest new projects as well, and we will support them," Xi stressed.

According to the statement, he expressed his satisfaction over the comprehensive nature of bilateral relations between the two countries, "that gained a completely new dimension after the signing of the two presidents' joint statement in 2013."

Xi also stressed that participation of Serbian soldier and Nikolic at the upcoming military parade in Beijing was "a clear signal that Serbia values highly its friendship toward China."

"Now is the time for our relations to reach a new level. Serbia is our important and sincere partner in Central and Eastern Europe," the Chinese president said, adding China's "One Belt, One Road" project, from which Serbia can benefit significantly, will represent additional momentum in economic relations between the two countries.

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