For the first time in 25 years, a Chinese defense minister has arrived here on an official visit this Monday.
Liang Guanglie was welcomed with military and state honors before he met with his Serbian counterpart Dragan Šutanovac.
In a joint news conference held afterwards, Šutanovac reminded reporters that the visit has a strategic significance and that it comes after President Boris Tadić’s recent trip to China.
Šutanovac also said that he and Guanglie concluded that the defense sector ties are “perhaps the best in the overall cooperation between the two countries”.
The Serbian minister expressed his gratitude for everything China is doing on the international scene respecting international law and supporting Serbia in the defense of her interests in Kosovo.
By protecting the right of Serbia in Kosovo, we protect the right to one China, he continued, and reminded that Serbia “supports one and united China”.
According to him, the military cooperation could expand to military medicine, training, economy, military-scientific area, and exchange of experiences related to peace ops.
Šutanovac mentioned that 20 Serbian defense system officers attended courses in China, while one Chinese officer was in Belgrade, and that agreement was reached to raise this cooperation to a higher level.
Another topic of conversation today were “current asymmetrical threats on the global level”, which include terrorism, organized crime and other criminal activities.
“We expressed our mutual desire to cooperate in combating these threats and to exchange information,” said the Serbian defense chief.
Guanglie told reporters that the talks this morning in the Serbian Army (VS) Guards House facility in Belgrade’s Topčider district passed in an “open and candid atmosphere, reaching a wide consensus on all issues”.
He stressed that China and Serbia, although geographically far apart, “have friendly relations deeply rooted in the hearts of the two nations”.
Guanglie said he arrived in Serbia invited by Šutanovac, “because of friendship and cooperation, and to study the successful experiences in building the Serbian Army”.
The Chinese minister said that they also discussed bilateral ties between the two countries, military bilateral ties, and global international relations, and that on all these issues, far reaching agreement had been reached.
Guanglie will also meet with President Tadić, PM Cvetković and foreign affairs chief Vuk Jeremić.
Serbian, Chinese relations at highest level
President Boris Tadić conferred on Monday with Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and welcomed the raising of bilateral relations to the highest possible level through the establishment of strategic partnership.
This has made China one of the four pillars of Serbia’s foreign policy, he said.
Serbia is very interested in intensifying and fostering its economic relations with China, Tadić said, pointing to two important agreements signed recently in China – the agreement on economic and technical cooperation in infrastructure projects and the memorandum on approved tourism destinations.
Tadić also emphasized his support to intensified military, police, judiciary, culture, education, sport, science and technology sectors cooperation.
He congratulated the Chinese defense minister on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
2010 will mark the 55th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, Tadić said ,quoted by a release from his office.
Also today, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković met with Guanglie and thanked the People’s Republic of China for its support to Serbia’s endeavors to keep its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In compliance with international law, Serbia strongly supports the one China policy, Cvetković said quoted by his office.
Cvetković and Liang pointed to the high level of cooperation in the defense sector, which will be further fostered in a near future, especially in the military industry sector and in the exchange of experiences in peace operations, cooperation of defense industries and training of military personnel, the statement said.
They also pointed to the deep traditional friendship between Serbia and China, which was additionally strengthened by the recent adoption of a joint statement on strategic partnership during a visit of a Serbian delegation.