We are pleased to republish the speech given by Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and the Republic of Serbia, at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting, which was organized by the Communist Party of China on 15 March. It was originally carried on the website of the CPC’s International Department.
Congratulating Xi Jinping on his re-election as Chinese President, Vučić stressed that: “Your leadership is more critical than ever, as the world faces unprecedented challenges that demand bold and visionary solutions.”
Reviewing relations between the two countries, President Vučić noted that both China and Serbia advocate, “strict compliance with the basic principles of international law. The UN Charter does not distinguish the big and the small, the strong and the weak, but it rather establishes rules of conduct amongst equals… China and Serbia insist on the fact that all states must have equal rights and equal voice in the highest political forums.”
Referring to the status of Kosovo, Vučić said that China has, “always provided Serbia with diplomatic support for our territorial integrity, and our attempts to defend the international legal order. We are grateful to the People’s Republic of China for its down to the letter respect of the United Nations Resolution 1244, which guarantees peace and integrity to our country.” Equally, he added, Serbia fully supports the one-China policy.
Surveying the economic aspects of bilateral relations, Vučić noted that, “Chinese involvement in infrastructure, energy and mining sectors in Serbia has significantly boosted our economy, creating jobs and opportunities for our citizens, and has helped promote cooperation and exchange between our two nations.” Especially, China has helped Serbia’s important infrastructure projects, including the modernization and construction of roads, bridges and railways. China has also invested in Serbia’s energy, technology, agriculture and tourism.
Presidents from political parties and countries from all over the world,
Members of Central Committee,
Most honorable Friend President Xi Jinping,
Congratulations on your historic third term as President of your Great country. This remarkable achievement is a testament to your unwavering dedication to serving the Chinese people and advancing the prosperity and stability of your nation. Under your leadership, China has achieved continuous economic growth and has become a leading global power. Your visionary approach to development, your commitment to innovation, and your steadfast focus on building a better future for all of the Mankind.
As you embark on this new term as President, I have no doubt that you will continue to lead China with wisdom, strength, and compassion. Your leadership is more critical than ever, as the world faces unprecedented challenges that demand bold and visionary solutions.
My dear Friends,
A great leader and guarantor of security, China, has the privilege of being led by a visionary like President Xi. I would like to start my speech by quoting my friend, architect of peace, President Xi Jinping. He once observed that “peace is like air and sun. We hardly notice him. None of us can live without peace.” The entirety of my public service and my diplomatic discourse is based on my ambition to promote Peace, Solidarity and Cooperation amongst the peoples and nations that comprise the Humanity. What a difficult task that is! Specially today in this ever-changing world full of disparity, inequality and hatred.
That is why it represents a great privilege to be able to address this esteemed gathering. As a highest representative of the Republic of Serbia, Which is the biggest country in the western Balkans and at the same time I do represent, I believe, by far the biggest party in western Balkans which is Serbian Progressive Party, I wish to celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of China, and to reaffirm our commitment to the strong and prosperous relationship between our two nations. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has become a global economic powerhouse. In recent years, China has made remarkable achievements in the area of science and technology. China has become a leader in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and space exploration. The world looks to China for innovative solutions that can help us tackle the challenges of the future.
The Belt and Road Initiative has become an important project that has brought nations closer together and fostered economic cooperation. China has shown the world that it is possible to achieve great things while remaining committed to the cause of global peace and understanding. Also, China has played a crucial role in the international community, promoting mutual respect, cooperation, and peaceful relations with other countries. And I need to say one thing, at least I believe that is well-known throughout the world, as a guy that is not flattering anyone, but I have to say everything that I have just said about Xi Jinping, because we got a lot, we took a lot from the cooperation with China, and from learning many things from President Xi and will keep on doing so.
Our generation, as well as generation of our children, are both living in harsh times full of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken many health care systems, challenging global solidarity. We live in a world that is increasingly complex and interconnected.
That is precisely the reason why, we must continue to emphasize the importance of peace and stability. Instead of a general economic recovery accompanied by the optimism and well- being of Humanity, we are witnessing rapid changes today that are certainly not positive. Many people, all over the globe, spend their lives fearing for a mere existence, and millions fear for their lives.
We must, therefore, remain committed to the ideals of innovation, reform, and progress. We must ensure that the benefits of growth and development are shared equitably among all members of society.
It is by looking at positive example of China, that we are able to adjust the moral compass of our diplomacy. We altogether as leaders of countries and leaders of political parties need to build a new world based on multilateralism and strict adherence to the Founding Charter of the United Nations. It is our duty that the basic postulates of the Charter are never interpreted, but carried out to the full extent. There is an ancient Chinese proverb, that President Xi so often mentions: “let us replace weapons of war with gifts of jade and silk.” Any global challenge must be solved through diplomatic dialogue and by peaceful means.
Peace, in itself, is also the starting point for balanced progress, which in turn is a prerequisite for the eradication of poverty. The United Nations Agenda 2030 focuses on sustainable development, insisting that all countries must have equal rights in achieving their legitimate economic goals. The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has had the biggest economic impact on supply chain disruption. A sustainable world economy is possible only in a well-balanced multilateralism. President Xi once said that countries around the world are “like passengers on the same ship who share a common destiny.” Just like the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Serbia advocates strict compliance with the basic principles of international law. The UN Charter does not distinguish the big and the small, the strong and the weak, but it rather establishes rules of conduct amongst equals. Although we are aware that not all countries have the same strength, China and Serbia insist on the fact that all states must have equal rights and equal voice in the highest political forums such as the General Assembly of United Nations.
China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, was always committed to preserving the peace, and has always provided Serbia with diplomatic support for our the territorial integrity, and our attempts to defend the international legal order. We are grateful to the People’s Republic of China for its down to the letter respect of the United Nations Resolution 1244, which guarantees peace and integrity to our country! Needless to say, Serbia, in full diplomatic capacity, supports the one- China policy and the territorial integrity of your country’s. Our partnership, over the decades, has only grown stronger through common diplomatic approach to relevant issues, and often through concrete joint actions.
The Serbian Constitution of 1835 states that “every slave who set foot on Serbian soil becomes a free man”, and today’s Chinese Constitution obliges the People’s Republic of China to “adhere to the path of peaceful development”. I believe that the love that our peoples have for Freedom and Peace further strengthens our traditional friendship.
The Chinese involvement in infrastructure, energy and mining sectors in Serbia has significantly boosted our economy, creating jobs and opportunities for our citizens, and has helped promote cooperation and exchange between our two nations. Two direct flights between China and Serbia, to Beijing and Tianjin, introduced last year, are of great importance for increasing tourism traffic. Over 30 Chinese companies plus two major Chinese tour operators had an opportunity to meet with their Serbian colleagues and Serbian tourists and explore the possibilities for future cooperation. The number of Chinese tourists increased nine times from 2013 to 2019, and Serbia was the first country in the CEE region to abolish visas for Chinese citizens as early as 2016.
Having in mind other aspects of our economic relations I would like to make a short review of the exponentially fast growth of our exchange. The value of total merchandise trade with the People’s Republic of China has increased 342%, in the last 10 years. In the past ten years, we have increased Serbian exports to China 182 times, and from a statistically negligible 6.4 million dollars, our exports have reached 1.2 billion dollars. China is also among the top five economic partners of Serbia, as it ranks high in terms of total merchandise trade, as well as the value of our exports and imports. Moreover, the People’s Republic of China is also on the list of the top ten largest investors in the Serbian economy.
Furthermore, the most significant area of cooperation between Serbia and China in recent years has been the implementation of our most important infrastructure projects. China has helped in the construction of important infrastructure projects in Serbia, including the modernization and construction of roads, bridges, railways…The most significant projects include the construction of the Danube bridge in Belgrade, the modernization of the Belgrade-Budapest railway and the reconstruction of the RumaŠabac- Loznica road. In addition, China has invested in the development of industries in Serbia, including energy, technology, agriculture, and tourism. In summary, cooperation between Serbia and China is very important for both countries, particularly in the area of infrastructure projects and economic development. Serbia and China also share a long and rich history of cultural exchange, and we are grateful for the opportunity to deepen our cooperation in the areas of culture, education, and science. We appreciate the scholarships that have been offered to Serbian students to study in China, which has helped to create a new generation of young people who are knowledgeable about China’s rich culture and history.
We must continue to strengthen our cooperation in areas such as technology, innovation, and renewable energy, which will contribute to sustainable development and benefit our citizens. President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative was supported by almost entire international community. China has signed cooperation documents with 149 countries and 32 international organizations. In response to climate change, China is working to implement the Paris Agreement with major technological breakthroughs.
In June 2022, at a BRICS summit, President Xi called on Humanity to “for peace, development, openness and innovation to build a high-quality partnership” This call for “the advancement of global science and technology governance, and enabling more people to access and benefit from the fruits of scientific and technological progress,” we in Serbia regard with great hope, knowing that China generously shares a large part of its scientific achievements with our country. To promote peace and security, and to contribute to addressing global challenges, President Xi proposed the Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative. President Xi is the greatest promoter of dialogue and cooperation, unity and openness. China follows the path of peaceful development, making efforts to advance global governance and promote an open society with a common future for humanity.
We must adhere to equality and mutual learning, dialogue and inclusivity, overcome cultural barriers through exchange, overcome conflicts between nations. We must once and for all overcome the sense of superiority of civilizations and cultures through peaceful coexistence.
In order to understand each other better we must strengthen international cultural exchange and cooperation, explore the possibility of building a global network for dialogue and cooperation, enrich the content of exchange, expand channels of cooperation, promote mutual understanding and friendship among peoples of all countries, so that we can together advance the development of Mankind.
I would like to express, once again, our sincere appreciation to China and the CPC for its friendship and support over the years. We are confident that our strong relationship will continue to grow and flourish, creating new opportunities for cooperation and progress. Let us work together to build a better world, where all people can thrive and live in peace.
In conclusion, I would like to come back to the commencement of my address, and quote the great leader, President Xi, once again: “peace is like air and sun. We hardly notice him. None of us can live without peace.”
May the future bring us peace and the general well-being of humanity.
Long live our iron friendship!
Long live all our independent and sovereign countries!