The B&R Summit Forum in Beijing was the great success of President Xi Jinping, Chinese leadership and China. It gathered many world leaders, heads of states, governments and international organizations as well as other government representatives from all over the world. Nominally it was devoted to further development and implementation of B&R but in fact it was devoted to the best ways how to recover the world economy from years of crises or sluggish development. For, obviously, only a few years after the B&R inception by President Xi Jinping the world has recognized the global positive impact of that multidimensional Initiative on global economy. Thus it was the most important, constructive international conference reflecting global changes, challenges in the world economy and multi-polarity of the world relations, in general.
The Summit demonstrated the leading role of China in opening the vision and the ways how to make the world better for all and how to unite all for this objective. It has shown strong political will in favor of a win-win-cooperation, innovative, environment friendly, sustainable development. It implanted new energy to the implementation process of all current B&R projects and gave united support for even better cooperation and coordination of participating countries. It is a quite realistic expectation that even those who, up to now, stayed aside may soon change their views and join the Initiative, one or the other way.
Once again China has demonstrated vision and magnetism of the new pattern of win-win-cooperation for the new era of a multipolar world. The pattern radiates equality, openness and mutual benefit not protectionism and power politics. Wide and very high international presence confirmed growing gravitation toward China and highest respect for the constructive role of China in the world affairs.
Serbia was represented on the highest level by the Prime minister and newly elected President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic thus showing highest support to the B&R Initiative, appreciation for the support of China and President Xi Djinping to Serbia and full readiness to further strengthening of the traditional friendship between the two countries.
The Serbian delegation comprised of a number of Ministers and other top officials and specialist returns to Belgrade profoundly satisfied. During the B&R Summit Forum, new agreements have been reached. Accordingly, Chinese companies will continue further construction works on the Corridor 11 linking Serbia with South Adriatic Sea.1
It was also confirmed that the construction of the Belgrade-Budapest High Speed Railway will start this coming November during the 6th Prime Ministers Summit to be held in Budapest. It will be the biggest construction undertaking in the whole of Europe.
The agreement was also reached to establish a new Industrial Park on the left bank of Danube River not far way from Belgrade. It just might become Serbia’s Pudong zone and accelerator of trade, industry and employment. According to the statements of Serbian Government ministers, a Memorandum of Understanding has been reached with Chinese CRBC [China Road and Bridge Corporation, a Chinese state-owned enterprise] on construction of the roads, tunnels and bridges including the road Pozega-Boljare [also called Autoput A23, is a planned serbian freeway from Pozega to Boljare at the montenegrian border], 140 km long and Ruma-Novi Sad with the longest tunnel in Serbia through the whole mountain of Fruska Gora, new projects totaling the value of 2,5 billion US dollars.
In the field of people to people exchange, Serbia received a package of 1,000 scholarships, 100 per year for the next 10 years. The perspective to have direct air-flights Belgrade-Beijing (Shanghai) is expected to start functioning before the end of this year thus complimenting no visa regime which started to function from January this year contributing to doubling of tourists’ visits to Serbia in the first three months of this year compared to the same period of the last year. A number of other deeds have also been reached which all make a foundation for enlargement and lasting cooperation in accordance with Serbia’s position as the hub of infrastructure and transport. •
* Zivadin Jovanovic is a Serbian diplomat and poltitician. He served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs oft he Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1998 and 2000. Since 2005 he is president of the “Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals”.
1 The author of this paper maintains that modernization of the railway on the same corridor 11 should be studied. Modern railway Belgrade-South Adriatic, would not only provide rational access of several land locked CEEC countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Hungary, Check Republic, Slovakia), boosting their trade and development potentials, but would also facilitate trade and cooperation within 16+1 under B&R, in general. Finally, it would be integrated in the “Three Seas Ports Cooperation” (Adriatic, Black and Baltic Seas).
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