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China’s Xi welcomed to Serbia with ‘respect and love’

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Beijing claims Taiwan, a self-ruled island, as its own and has not ruled out using force to bring it under Chinese control.

Xi told Vucic in opening comments that there was a “strong feeling of friendship between our two countries”.

“I hope that this visit will meet your expectations and show the contribution that China can make to Serbia,” he said.

They later appeared together to sign a joint declaration, with commercial promises including the purchase of new Chinese trains, new air links, and increased Serbian imports.

ANNIVERSARY OF US BOMBING CHINESE EMBASSY

In Belgrade, Xi received a warm welcome, with streets decked out with Chinese flags and posters proclaiming a “warm welcome” to “Chinese friends”.

His visit coincided with the 25th anniversary of the 1999 US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which killed three people.

“Do not forget that our Chinese friends were with us 25 years ago when this country was being demolished and bombed,” Vucic told crowds Wednesday.

The embassy was hit during a months-long, US-led NATO campaign targeting Serbian security forces who were at war with ethnic-Albanian insurgents in Kosovo.

The US later apologised, saying outdated maps had led the pilot to strike the wrong target.

On Tuesday, Xi wrote in the Serbian daily Politika that NATO had “flagrantly bombed the Chinese embassy”, warning that China would “never allow such tragic history to repeat itself”.

Serbia has repeatedly supported China’s claims over Taiwan and in turn, Beijing has long backed Serbia’s territorial claims over the breakaway province of Kosovo.

Along with Russia, China has prevented Kosovo’s recognition by the United Nations.

Xi called for the two countries to “firmly support each other’s core interests”.

“China supports Serbia in upholding its policy of acting independently … (and) its efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Kosovo issue,” he said Wednesday.

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