No significant projects in the scope of the cooperation between China and Serbia have been suspended since the coronavirus pandemic began. The section of the Belgrade-Budapest railway from Belgrade to Novi sad and the Section of the B-4 highway bypass around Belgrade have been opened to traffic, and numerous new projects, such as the construction of the Novi Sad-Ruma highway, the construction of the Belgrade metro and the sewage grid projects in many cities, are successfully progressing one after the other, pointed out the charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade Tian Yishu in his interview with Politika.

“Despite the impact of the epidemic, the cooperation between China and Serbia has advanced,” said Tian Yishu in response to the question whether he expected a successful continuation of the cooperation, and stated that neither the disruption of global relations nor the pandemic have lessened the cooperation between Serbia and China and the development of Chinese projects.

He pointed out that “the situation between Russia and Ukraine currently has a big impact on the global economy and trade, finance, energy, food, the industry chain and the supply chain, which can have a certain impact on the projects in the scope of the cooperation between China and Serbia”. “We will be in close contact and coordination with the Serbian side and strive to keep any possible impact to a minimum. It is our belief that the two sides can work together on securing a healthy and stable development of the cooperation between China an Serbia, and continue to make a positive contribution to advancing the economic and social growth of the two countries,” stressed the Chinese Embassy’s charge d’affaires.

How would you qualify the statement of the United States Ambassador in Serbia Christopher Hill in his interview with Politika, where, speaking on the cooperation and projects with China, he said that it was “a very complicated issue, regarding the way that China makes contracts, realized construction, whether the host country is receiving what it is paying for, and there have been problems in Africa and everywhere in the world”, as well as that he believed that “Serbia should pay attention to that, like it is doing”?

China has never set any political conditions for cooperating with other countries in the world, and it has never imposed anything on others. In the scope of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and the other sides continually promoted cooperation in different fields in line with the principle of “joint consultations, joint construction and sharing”, and made a positive contribution to helping developing countries build infrastructure and promote common global development. In spite of the impact of the pandemic and other factors, the joint construction in the scope of the Belt and Road Initiative has kept a strong pace, providing a strong driving force for the economic recovery of all countries. Each nation has a right to independently choose its development path. Individuals should not and do not have the right to discredit the cooperation of others for their own selfish interests. Serbia is entitled to choose its own partners. It is evident that the cooperation between China and Serbia is based in mutual respect, mutual benefit and joint fruitful results, and that the projects in the cooperation between China and Serbia have yielded prosperity for the Serbian and Chinese people, and contributed to the development and revitalization of the two countries. The “Zijin” mine in Bor and the HBIS Steel Plant in Smederevo were ranked as the first and second largest export companies in Serbia in 2021. China is Serbia’s second largest trade partner. An increasing number of Serbs are participating in and benefiting from the cooperation between China and Serbia, and the cooperation between the two countries is making an increasing contribution to the economic and social development of Serbia and China. A small number of people with hidden motives have spread lies on multiple occasions to disparage and discredit the cooperation between China and Serbia and the national development of Serbia. The cooperation between China and Serbia is in line with the wishes of the two nations and it is our belief that such attempts will be unsuccessful.

Can Serbia count on China’s unchanged position regarding Kosovo and Metohija and not recognizing the unilaterally declared independence of Priština, but also the support in preserving the provisions of the Dayton Agreement regarding the status of the Republic of Srpska within Bosnia and Herzegovina?

The position of China on these two issues has always been consistent and clear. As it relates to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, we respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, we understand Serbia’s justified concern regarding Kosovo and Metohija, including the concern over the safety, legitimate rights and interests of Serbs from Kosovo, we respect Serbia for its positive efforts in finding a political solution to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. We support both sides in jointly working on finding a mutually acceptable solution through real dialogue and consultations under the scope of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1244. China would like to encourage both sides to continue dialogue with the help of the European Union. The results of the negotiations that the two sides have already achieved should be fully respected and implemented.   As it relates to Bosnia and Herzegovina, we respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we respect the choice of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina for their country, and we encourage all sides in Bosnia and Herzegovina to actively participate in constructive dialogue and cooperation for achieving national reconciliation. The international community should, according to how the situation develops, offer constructive aid for satisfying the true needs of the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a fair, balanced and rational manner. External forces will not help in the reconciliation of differences and disagreements relating to the ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina by choosing sides. The arbitrary introduction of unilateral sanctions not based in the international law can also increase tensions and further complicate the already difficult situation, and less so be an effective way to find a solution to the problem. China will continue to do everything in its power to help Bosnia and Herzegovina achieve long-term peace, stability and development.