Chinese President Xi Jinping's Visit to Serbia: Strengthening Balkan Ties Amidst Economic Focus

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | May 8, 2024, Wednesday // 08:25
Bulgaria: Chinese President Xi Jinping's Visit to Serbia: Strengthening Balkan Ties Amidst Economic Focus

The Serbian capital of Belgrade welcomes a significant diplomatic guest as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a pivotal visit, marking the second leg of his European tour. Commencing in France and extending to Hungary, Xi's presence in Serbia holds particular resonance, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the former Yugoslavia, during which Beijing's embassy in Belgrade suffered tragic casualties.

Serbia's burgeoning relationship with China has garnered attention, with Reuters highlighting its pivotal role as Beijing's primary partner in the Balkans. With China ranking as Serbia's second-largest trading partner after the EU, bilateral ties are set to deepen further with the imminent implementation of a free trade agreement slated for July this year.

Anticipation surrounds today's discussions between Serbian President Vučić and Xi Jinping, with a spotlight on potential new agreements poised to bolster economic cooperation. Chinese investments already permeate key sectors such as mining and infrastructure development, with Beijing earmarking substantial funding for ongoing projects across Serbia.

Reuters underscores the geopolitical undercurrents shaping Xi's choice of Serbia and Hungary for his European visit, citing their alignment with pro-Russian leadership and the influx of Chinese capital into their economies. Against a backdrop of regional dynamics, Xi's itinerary reflects China's strategic maneuvering in the face of broader geopolitical shifts.

For Xi Jinping, this European tour marks a significant diplomatic engagement, signaling China's commitment to fostering partnerships amidst global uncertainties. Previous meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delved into trade complexities with Europe and explored avenues for Chinese influence vis-à-vis Russia, particularly in mitigating tensions surrounding Ukraine.

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Tags: Xi Jinping, Serbia, China, economic

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