Chinese president accepts invitation to visit Serbia

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday accepted the invitation of Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic to visit Serbia.

Source: Tanjug

"Find me a date for the visit and I will come to Serbia," Xi said.

Vucic and his host "discussed economic and political relations between the two countries," Tanjug quoted a Serbian government's statement.

"The Smederevo steelworks and co-operation with China's HBIS, which is interested in acquiring Zelezara, is our absolute priority, so please support HBIS," Vucic asked Xi.

Xi "thanked Vucic for his personal commitment to improving relations between Serbia and China, stressing that the long tradition of friendship and political trust between the two countries had made Serbia a priority for China," the statement said.

MoU signed with China's HBIS Group

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Beijing on Thursday between the Serbian government and China's Hebei Iron and Steel (HBIS) Group which is interested in the acquisition of Serbia's sole steel mill Zelezara Smederevo.

Prime ministers of Serbia and China Aleksandar Vucic and Li Keqiang, attended the signing.

Vucic told reporters on Wednesday that HBIS Group, which is the world's second largest steel producer amid falling steel prices, was interested in Zelezara, describing this as a good solution.

He said that the signing of the document was of vital importance for the acquisition of Zelezara, so “we hope we would manage to successfully complete negotiations”.

“This is of key strategic importance for the future and development of Serbia,” the prime minister said.

Vucic confers with Li

Construction of highways and a rail line from Belgrade to Budapest, development of industrial parks and the arrival of the Chinese company HBIS in the Smederevo steel mill are the three most important things for Serbia-China relations, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said at a meeting with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

It is exceptionally significant that the construction of the rail line start by the end of the year, noted Li and announced that China will donate around EUR 4.4 million for the project.

Vucic, who on Thursday began a bilateral visit to China, said that the rail line is the most significant project for the entire region.

"An acquisition of the Smederevo steel mill would contribute to a re-industrialization of Serbia, making China our most important strategic partner," Vucic noted, a government statement said.


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