China-Serbia ‘Ironclad Friendship’: Ties Strengthen Amid US Wariness

China and Serbia Pledge ‘Ironclad Friendship’

In an affirmation of shared political and economic interests, China and Serbia declared an “ironclad friendship” on Wednesday. This proclamation occurred during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Belgrade, an event that further emphasized the mutual wariness both nations hold towards the United States.

Xi Jinping’s Arrival Coincides with 25th Anniversary of U.S. Airstrike

Mr. Xi’s arrival in Serbia late Tuesday coincided with the 25th anniversary of a mistaken 1999 airstrike involving the U.S. Air Force. This unfortunate incident, which occurred during the Kosovo war, resulted in the destruction of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and the death of three Chinese journalists.

Xi Jinping and Aleksandar Vucic Address Crowd in Belgrade

On Wednesday morning, President Xi, alongside Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, addressed a cheering crowd gathered in front of the Palace of Serbia. This site, once the headquarters of the now-defunct Yugoslavian government, currently houses Serbian government offices.

China’s Close Economic Relationship with Serbia

China is Serbia’s largest foreign investor, with increasingly close economic relations bolstering a relationship that predates the collapse of Yugoslavia. This bond, solidified by shared skepticism of Western and Soviet power, has remained firm even as Mr. Xi’s government seeks to stabilize relations with the United States and Western Europe.

Shared Territorial Claims Strengthen China-Serbia Alliance

China and Serbia’s mutual support for each other’s territorial claims has further cemented their alliance. China supports Serbia’s claim to Kosovo, while Serbia acknowledges China’s claim to Taiwan. This mutual respect for sovereignty has served as a pillar for their relationship, underscoring their united front against perceived external threats.

Public Perception of China in Europe

While public opinion of China has soured in most parts of Europe, particularly in formerly Communist countries due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Serbia continues to maintain strong pro-Chinese sentiments. Such sentiments are due in part to Serbia’s close ties with Russia and their reliance on China for substantial investment.

A Look into the Future of China-Serbia Relations

As China and Serbia continue to cultivate their “ironclad friendship”, the global community watches with keen interest. Despite the challenges, both nations have demonstrated a commitment to maintaining this alliance. It remains to be seen how this partnership will evolve amidst the ever-shifting landscape of global politics.