China’s Xi seeks to promote stronger ties with ‘ironclad friend’ Serbia

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s President Xi Jinping on Tuesday met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Beijing, calling the country an “ironclad friend” and urging stronger strategic coordination between them.

Xi held talks with Vucic, who is in Beijing to attend a forum on the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan for global infrastructure and energy networks launched a decade ago.

China and Serbia should promote cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure construction, digital economy and scientific and technological innovation, Xi said, according to state media China Central Television (CCTV).

Xi also pledged China’s support for Serbia in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Vucic, who also described the friendship between Serbia and China as “ironclad”, said their bilateral ties had withstood various tests, and acknowledged China’s support to Serbia when facing difficulties, CCTV said.

The two leaders signed several bilateral documents, including on industrial and investment cooperation, and a free trade agreement, according to the report.

(Reporting by Bernard Orr and Ethan Wang; Editing by Alex Richardson)