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Saturday, June 18, 2016, 10:52

Xi arrives in Serbia for state visit

By Agencies

Xi arrives in Serbia for state visit
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are greeted by Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and his wife upon their arrival at the airport of Belgrade, Serbia, June 17, 2016. Xi started a state visit to Serbia Friday. ( Photo/Xinhua)

BELGRADE, Serbia — Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Serbia on Friday for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and government officials welcomed Xi as he landed at Belgrade's airport. A Serbian folk group performed traditional dances as part of the welcoming ceremony.

"The traditional friendship between our two countries and peoples has stood the historical test amid the changes of the international landscape and our respective national conditions, and become even stronger," the Chinese president said in a written speech delivered at the airport.

He added that the two countries also cooperate with China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative — a plan to deepen trade relations with neighboring countries and open new markets, like Serbia.

Serbia's president Nikolic said in a statement that China was "undoubtedly offering a friendly hand" as Serbia seeks to restart its economy ravaged by years of crisis during the 1990s.

Xi also inaugurated a Chinese cultural center at the site of the former Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which was bombed accidently by the NATO in 1999. With helicopters flying above and scores of police keeping guard, Xi also took a tour of the Belgrade fortress.

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