Activities - Comments


Zivadin Jovanovic
Interview with Xinhya News Agency, Shi Zhongyu, Chief Correspondent from Belgrade

Q. How do you prospect the relationship between Serbia and China?

R: Serbia-China relations have long tradition of friendship, mutual respect and solidarity. Our political, moral, humanistic values coincide and we trust each other, we never deceived each other regardless of difficulties. Serbia and China were victims in 1999 during the bombing of NATO. Today, exactly 21 years ago, NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade killing three Chinese journalists. It happened so that only minutes after that tragic event I came to the location. I sow ruins of the building in flames, people from neighborhood, teams of firemen, doctors and other health emergency people helping out Embassy’s personnel from the ruins and debris.  I saw the then Chinese Ambassador Pan Zhanlyin helped by two gentlemen while walking out of clouds of smoke and sand-dust – scene which I will never forget. Some foreign TV journalists on the scene wanted my comment about bombing of the Embassy. I remember replying: “All of you here must help to save the people’s lives” – and I proceeded closer to the ruins.

Both Serbia and China adhere to the UN Charter principles, to the international law and to the democratic World order based on strict respect of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-interference.
Today Serbia and China are “the steel partners”, comprehensive, strategic partners connected by wide range of cooperation in trade, infrastructure, investments, green energy and industry, transfer of technology, innovation, tourism, science, culture, education, people to people connectivity.

Nowadays when Serbia and the world are in the midst of the fight with Corona 19 pandemic, the President Xi Jinping, the Government and the brotherly people of China, once again, have come with the great, precious and timely humanitarian assistance to Serbia and Serbian people. The health air bridge Belgrade-Beijing is continuously transporting to Belgrade respirators, tests, dozens of millions of masks and other medical necessities. Chinese doctors already ten days, day and night, are tirelessly working with Serbian doctors to protect people of the new corona virus. It is the most impressive to se haw the people all around China are collecting humanitarian assistance and sending it with messages of solidarity, understanding and friendship.

All this friendliness and solidarity which we are experiencing now from Chinese leadership and brotherly people of China is lasting heritage which will definitely reinforce our friendship and foster even stronger comprehensive strategic relationship. When it is difficult friends come first – says a proverb. China has come first to help Serbia and we will never forget this. Further strengthening of our friendliness and overall strategic cooperation is natural expectation and will of our peoples and leaderships.

Q. How do you foresee Serbia and the EU relations after the pandemic?

R. For some time now I have been thinking of the need to review Serbia-EU relations. First, because EU, under the influence of certain powers, has not been status neutral in the case of unilateral, illegal secession of the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. Second, after Brexit, UE has entered a prolonged period of own internal crises without clear vision of the future, so far. COVID 19 pandemic, has unveiled some new arguments for reexamining of our relations in order to put them on more realistic long term base. In my opinion Serbia should remain fully open for cooperation with EU in all the fields of mutual interest. Our cooperation should be based strictly on reciprocity, mutual interests and good neighborly relations. This excludes any interference in internal or foreign policy of Serbia and any unilateral concession from our side. Serbia does not interfere in EU relations, say, with USA or Great Britain, or anybody else, why somebody from Brussels, Berlin, or London should interfere in Serbia’s relations and cooperation, for example, with China, Russia, or any other country!? We are supposed to be partners on equal footing, not in hierarchy or subordinate relationship?! In my personal opinion, no capital, no promises, investments or donations can replace equality and dignity of a nation or a state.  

Serbia needs EU as a true partner as much as EU needs Serbia as a true partner. This is, anyway, universal principle in international relations. To conclude, we are neighbor of EU, we have lasting important interests to continue and strengthen cooperation, especially in the field of economy, but this should be on equal footing only. We will never put to question economic, financial or other potentials of EU, but there are certainly a number of legitimate expectations of Serbia that EU should consider in an open and principled manner. I believe in the future good Serbia-EU relations based on mutual interests, non-interference and respect of Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.    


Zivadin Jovanovic
Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals
Silk Road Connectivity Research Center