Serbia as a center of Chinese interests in Europe
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with visiting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Shen Hong).
In April 2022, China delivered a shipment of HQ-22 surface-to-air missiles to Serbia, thus demonstrating its progress in the field of military logistic transport. The missiles arrived at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla airport on April 10, 2022 on six People’s Liberation Army Y-20 cargo planes. It is the first time that such a large flock of Chinese military aircraft has arrived in Europe.
The Sino-Serbian strategic partnership started in 2013 and in 2019 Serbia joined the Belt and Road Initiative, obtaining Chinese funding in the infrastructure (roads and railways), energy, steel, mining and technology fields. In Belgrade, the Chinese technological giant Huawei has opened a pole for development and innovation that has promoted several projects including: the installation of security cameras equipped with a facial recognition system in Belgrade, the creation of a smart cities in Nis and the management of a data center in Kragujevac.
In February 2022, Serbian President Vucic and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced at the inauguration of the Beijing Winter Olympics that the two countries will sign a free trade agreement.
Serbia together with Hungary (where the Chinese technology company Lenovo has just opened the first European production plant) are at the center of Chinese interests in Europe. Both are already part of the 17 + 1 cooperation format, Hungary has already been a member of the EU since 2004 while Serbia has applied to join the EU in 2009.