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Xi seeks more ties with central, eastern Europe
Publication Date : 27-08-2013
China pledged to strengthen the economic ties between China and Central and Eastern European countries on Monday.
President Xi Jinping made the remarks when he met visiting Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic in Beijing, calling on the two countries to expand bilateral trade and investment.
Stressing that China attached great attention to Central and Eastern European countries, Xi said Beijing hopes to upgrade bilateral cooperation and promote comprehensive and balanced China-Europe relations.
He called for the two countries to enhance cooperation on infrastructure construction, agriculture, energy, the information industry, the automobile industry and technology.
The president also called on the two countries to set up cultural centres, saying that China supports the teaching of Mandarin and opening Confucius Institutes in Serbia.
Before the meeting, Xi greeted Nikolic with a grand welcoming ceremony and a 21-gun salute outside the Great Hall of the People.
Serbia is the first strategic partner that China has forged in Central and Eastern Europe. Nikolic is on his first official visit to China from Sunday to Thursday.
Nikolic said Serbia has a traditional friendship with China and is happy for the great achievements Chinese people have made.
"I hope my visit to China can enhance the two countries' cooperation and begin a new chapter in China-Serbia relations," Nikolic said.
Serbia is willing to work with China to promote ties between China and Central and Eastern Europe, Nikolic said.
Premier Li Keqiang, who also met the Serbian guest on Monday, said that there is huge potential for cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries.
Li encouraged capable Chinese companies to invest in countries in the region and welcomed importing more products from the region.
Cooperation between China and central and Eastern Europe can bring new growth to China-European ties, and Serbia is expected to contribute more to this cooperation, Li said.
Nikolic said China is a reliable partner for his country, and Serbia is willing to borrow China's development experiences.
"We welcome more Chinese companies participating in Serbian economic development, and expanding the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries," Nikolic added.
Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe has become more important for both sides in recent years.
"Those countries used to cooperate with Western European countries and the United States. After the global financial crisis, they found that the Chinese market and financial support from China has become more significant for their economic development," Feng said.
"On the other hand, countries such as Serbia, are on their way to European Union integration. Those countries can be an important part of China's cooperation with the EU in the future," he said.
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