Interview: China is a "friend indeed" to Serbia -- Serbian president

Source: Xinhua| 2021-02-10 21:16:27|Editor: huaxia

by Fu Yiming, Shi Zhongyu and Nemanja Cabric

On top of a series of impressive cooperation, China has been a true friend to Serbia during these trying times amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

BELGRADE, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- "A friend in need is a friend indeed!" said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic when he described what China is to Serbia and the Serbian people.

"Whenever Serbia asked for something, we (have) always gotten that and I will always be very proud that we succeeded in getting the level of cooperation that we can brag on ourselves about," Vucic told Xinhua in an interview.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic speaks during a welcoming ceremony of China's Sinopharm inactivated coronavirus vaccines in Belgrade, Serbia, Jan. 16, 2021. (Photo by Predrag Milosavljevic/Xinhua)

Recalling the scale and scope of bilateral cooperation in recent years, Vucic was impressed that such cooperation transformed Serbia and benefited the Serbian people tremendously. He said that his gratitude to China can not be expressed enough.

"We do together main roads, highways, railroads with Chinese companies, and we are very satisfied with the quality of the work they deliver, with their speed, efficacy ... efficiency they deliver to us," he said.

"A Chinese company saved our steel mill in Smederevo and we preserved 5,000 jobs for ordinary people. It's not only 5,000 jobs. It's all together 50,000 jobs with their collaborators, which is a huge number for such a relatively small country as Serbia," he said.

"New plants, new factories, new production lines ... " Vucic went on to list the variety of cooperation with China that has and will benefit the Serbian people. "Wherever you go you will see something that was done by the Chinese people here in this country."

"I am so proud of all our accomplishments, of all our achievements, wherever you go you can see a number of bridges built by Chinese companies, a number of tunnels... highways, roads and railroads built in this country," he added.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (front) views the models of high-speed trains at the construction site of the Belgrade-Budapest railway in Stara Pazova, Serbia, on May 30, 2020. (Dimitrije Goll/Serbian President's Office/Handout via Xinhua)

On top of a series of impressive cooperation, China has been a true friend to Serbia during these trying times amid the COVID-19 pandemic. China offered extensive support to Serbia when help could hardly be sought elsewhere, and it is therefore unsurprising that the president waited in the cold at the airport to welcome vaccines coming from China.

"I went to the airport, I waited for the goods... whether they were ventilators or vaccines and I did say many thanks to our Chinese friends," Vucic said.

When the pandemic first ravaged Europe, Vucic said, China sent medical experts to help Serbia and establish "state-of-the-art laboratories," and the Chinese experts not only helped Serbs fight the virus, but also boosted the confidence of the local medical teams. "That was a decisive moment of our fight against this pandemic, and I am very, very grateful!"

China was "the champion" that tackled and managed COVID-19 in the best possible way "with unparalleled leadership and discipline, (and) offered generous help to Serbia in need, making the country one of the highest vaccinated globally," Vucic said.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (C) and China's ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo (L) welcome the shipment of China's Sinopharm inactivated coronavirus vaccines at the Belgrade Airport, Serbia, Jan. 16, 2021. (Photo by Predrag Milosavljevic/Xinhua)

"Most of the people here in this country are vaccinated, with Sinopharm vaccine from China... the Chinese vaccines. I think there is no such a country in Europe in which you can find that level of trust (in the Chinese vaccines) that you can see here in Belgrade and Serbia," he said.

"People here are very satisfied and we are very proud that we succeeded in delivering such good things" to benefit the health of the Serbian people and the future of this country, he added.

"My very special message to the Chinese people: We appreciate you, we respect you, we are profoundly grateful to you for everything you did and for our friendship and we will do our best to keep this friendship. You can count on Serbian people," Vucic said.