Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday hailed his country's steely friendship with China, describing China as a most reliable, most valuable and greatest friend.
During a meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Vucic spoke highly of the two countries' strong political trust, substantially increasing economic and trade exchanges, saying that their pragmatic cooperation has brought benefits to the people.
The Serbian leader expressed his heartfelt appreciation to President Xi Jinping for his personal attention to and important strategic guidance for Serbia-China relations.
He also thanked the Chinese side for firmly supporting Serbia to protect its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and for its assistance to Serbia in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, developing economy and improving people's wellbeing.
He said that the Serbian side will unswervingly pursue a friendly policy towards China, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, jointly implement the major Belt and Road projects, so as to continue to scale new heights in bilateral relations.
For his part, Wang said that both the Chinese people and the Serbian people attach great importance to friendship and the upholding of justice, and that they both defy power politics and stand against bullying.
Noting that China-Serbia relations enjoy a strong internal driving force and a broad prospect, Wang said that for a long time, the two brotherly countries have supported and helped each other, jointly protecting their respective legitimate rights and interests and safeguarding international equity and justice.
China is proud of its "iron-clad friendship" with Serbia, and will continue to expand bilateral friendly cooperation, firmly support Serbia to realize faster and better development under the leadership of President Vucic, firmly support Serbia to protect national independence and national dignity, firmly support Serbia to play a more active role in regional and international affairs, Wang said.
He expressed China's willingness to actively promote the alignment of the two countries' development strategies, and to speed up cooperation in industrial capacity building and infrastructural projects such as the Belgrade-Budapest Railway within the Belt and Road framework.
China will also expand cooperation with Serbia in digital, innovative and green development, and assist Serbia to realize sustainable development, so as to translate their traditional friendship into more tangible results and bring more benefits to the two peoples, he said.
President Xi Jinping solemnly proposed the Global Development Initiative, which is another important global public good provided by China as a responsible major country, with a focus on the global development cause and international development cooperation, Wang said.
Gathering strength for speeding up the realization of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the initiative will help promote the early recovery of the world economy, promote green and sound development, and deliver benefits to the people of all countries, Wang explained, saying that China welcomes the Serbian side's active participation in this endeavor.
Vucic said that the Serbian side fully agrees with the initiative and will actively take part in and implement this important proposal.
Also on Thursday, the Serbian side issued a license to Chinese enterprises for the construction of a section of the Belgrade-Budapest Railway.
The Serbian president spoke highly of bilateral cooperation in infrastructural construction, expressing hope that the railway will play an important role in promoting European interconnectivity.