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China, Serbia publish blueprint for upgrading partnership
Xi and his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, signed a joint statement to lift bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership on the basis of their strategic partnership established in 2009.
In the statement, the two countries agreed to elevate their practical cooperation in various fields including aligning development strategies, infrastructure, industrial capacity, investment, finance, culture, education, healthcare, science and technology.
Serbia said it is ready to play an active role in China's Belt and Road Initiative, in an effort to seize the opportunity and align their development strategies so as to realize common development and prosperity.
The two sides pledged to continue joint efforts in putting the Hungary-Serbia railway into operation as scheduled, and to work with other Central and Eastern European countries on major regional connectivity projects.
On economy, China and Serbia, having achieved positive results in infrastructure construction cooperation, will further strengthen practical cooperation in such fields as energy, transportation infrastructure, industrial capacity and agriculture.
The two sides also agreed to promote and facilitate two-way trade and investment, providing convenient access for each other's enterprises and products, so as to help the balanced development of bilateral trade.
Settlement in local currency in bilateral trade and investment will be promoted by both countries, a move to further enhance financial cooperation between China and Serbia.
China's central bank signed a currency swap deal worth 1.5 billion yuan (228 million U.S. dollars) with its Serbian counterpart on Friday. The pact, inked with the National Bank of Serbia, will last three years and can be extended if the two sides agree, according to the People's Bank of China.
The two countries will continue to enrich their exchanges and cooperation in cultural and people-to-people fields such as education, sports, healthcare, tourism, science and technology, and news and publishing.
They also looked to expand cooperation in new fronts including film and TV production, think tank and media.
Summing up the successful experience in cultivating China-Serbia ties, the statement said it has proved that differences in historical background, social institution, ideology and development model are not necessarily blockages to developing relations between countries.
China and Serbia pledged to respect and support each other in choosing development paths and policies according to their national conditions, and in issues of core interests and common concern, based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and non-interference in internal affairs.
Serbia reaffirmed its stance in upholding the one-China policy, while China expressed respect for Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China understands Serbia's efforts to join the European Union, while Serbia highly appreciates China's role in promoting Asia's regional cooperation, integration and connectivity.
On regional and international affairs, the two sides agreed to support the United Nations in playing a leading role in settling global issues, safeguarding world peace and promoting joint development. They vowed to push for the democratization of international relations.
The document also included China and Serbia's condemnation on terrorism in any form, urging the international community to constantly strengthen anti-terror cooperation and eliminate the roots of terrorism.
Xi arrived in Belgrade on Friday for a historic visit to Serbia as China seeks to carry forward traditional friendship and step up economic engagement with the country. It is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Serbia in 32 years.