Belt and Road Initiative features win-win for China, CEE

Belt & Road
Infrastructure investments and other projects within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative are benefitting Serbia as well as the whole of Europe.

XinhuaUpdated: May 14, 2018

Infrastructure investments and other projects within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative are benefitting Serbia as well as the whole of Europe, an expert has said.

Neven Cveticanin, a senior research assistant at the Institute of Social Sciences of Serbia, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the stable and fruitful bilateral cooperation helps improve Serbia's economy and its people's living standard, and also sets an example for Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries to strengthen their cooperation with China within the framework of the win-win initiative.

In May last year, a Serbian delegation, headed by then Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and including several ministers, attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, during which several cooperation agreements were reached between the two countries.

One of the cooperation achievements is the Pupin Bridge in Belgrade, Serbia's capital, over the Danube River. Funded and built by Chinese enterprises, the bridge is regarded as a friendship bridge between the two peoples, the expert said.

"It is a useful bridge that links two parts of Belgrade. Vehicles and pedestrians are seen crossing the bridge everyday," said Cveticanin.

He referred to a steel mill in Smederevo, which kept the about 5,000 jobs after it was purchased by a Chinese company, as another major achievement of bilateral cooperation.

The achievements are also visible on the streets in Serbia, the expert said. "We notice that more and more Chinese come to the country for tours or businesses and Chinese restaurants and goods are popular among Serbian customers."

The growing bilateral cooperation also provides the two countries' scholars with opportunities to exchange views and learn from each other, said Cveticanin, who participated in a meeting of think-tanks from CEE countries and China last December in Beijing.

The expert suggested that the two sides increase science and education cooperation within the framework of the initiative and promote engagement between universities and scholars.

Cveticanin believed that the cooperation sets an example for CEE countries. "If Serbia-China cooperation can make such achievements and benefit their economies and peoples, this kind of cooperation can be a good example for other countries."