Current Position:Home > Our Research > main
more>> Dynamic news
Our Research

Central Eastern European Countries and Serbian Perspective and Position towards Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative—A Geopolitical Overview

Release Time: 2017-08-30 11:49:13   Author:Marko NIKOLIĆ   Source: Viona Lee   View Count:

Central Eastern European Countries and Serbian Perspective and Position towards Chinese One Belt One Road Initiative—A Geopolitical Overview

Marko NIKOLIĆ, Ph.D.[1]

 

Abstract

Paper presents an attempt related to Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative (2013) assessment from geo-political perspective, focusing on position and role of Serbia. In context of deep World economic crisis and at least skeptical (if not opposite) influence and interests of Trans-Atlantic partners (USA and EU), China has constructively been pretending to establish and maintain three continents’ network for intensive economic cooperation, trying to contribute to own and mutual peaceful development. China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) cooperation is “regional” and linking aspect of emerging Strategic China-EU cooperation. In that geo-political context, starting from its Identity and Foreign policy priorities, Serbia has been showing the will and readiness to become active Chinese partner and South-East European leader in “One Road, One Belt” initiative’s implementation.

 

Key Words: Silk Road, China-EU relations, China-CEEC Cooperation, “One Belt, One Road” initiative, Serbia’s Will and “Regionally-Integrative” role.

 

 

Introduction

Economic progress of China made its strategic approach and foreign policy changed especially at the beginning of 21st Century. Its priorities became mainly directed to preserve and create peaceful external environment for strengthened internal development. Perceiving itself a “Third world” country China’s logical partners have been developing countries with similar economic, energy, political and security interests. The “Silk Road” was synonym for various Eurasian trade and cultural communication routes that had been existing for more than 2.000 years, possessing strategic and even universal significance.[2] Routs’ geo-strategic, geo-political and geo-economic potentials were “frozen” during the Cold War’s “Balance of Fear”, helped by several decades of technological progress that had caused “overcoming” of geo-political way of thinking. International Silk Road’s focus was revived by several Governments’ initiatives and smaller projects at the end of 20th Century, and majority of them remained partly implemented till now. China also launched its Silk Road initiative in 2013. It was generally considered “China’s threat” (“Sleeping Asian Tiger”) in the West (USA, EU and Japan) starting from several indicators and facts: China is first economic and second world trade power, its reserves exchange with USA represents the largest and most important universal link, and China’s military budget has annually been increasing from 10-15 percent during past several years. On the other hand Chinese leadership has been pointing out that Chinese Silk Road approach was primary economic aiming to achieve benefits for all participating countries. In the light of these obviously opposite positions it is of crucial importance to emphasize well-known Chinese civilization starting point related to non-violence, being based on philosophical and religious values and principles of Taoism, Confucianism and Zen-Buddhism. That’s why its strategic approach and foreign policy proclaimed and achieved to “incorporate” five key principles into International Security System in 1970.[3] Thanks to that fact today’s World Order has been maintained and still was based on decisions of International institutions and organizations. On the other hand, in economic sense, Chinese “strategic weapon” in present International Affairs has no doubt been competitiveness…Finally, if “Chinese threat” really exists in practice today, it is question towards whom or what it has been directed? Logically towards ones who have been expressing some violent and military expansion tendencies…It is not questionable that China, as at least “regional power” with “universal prerogatives”, has been pretending to be and stay present and active in whole Euro-Asian area, trying to achieve economic, geo-political and “preventive-security” (defensive) interests, through its “Win-win” Foreign Policy based on Peace as goal and Development precondition. That approach within this stage of International Community existence (Deep Identity and Economic Crisis) is no doubt beneficial not only for China and its partners but also for whole International Community. The essence of newest Chinese Silk Road Strategy has generally been related to demands and needs of its own and International Community development, through positioning this Country, “from shadow”, as one of the most influential particularly in Euro-Asian “heartland”, but also in Middle East and Africa.

 

CONTEMPORARY SILK ROAD’S UNIVERSALISM AND INITIATIVES’ NETWORK

 

Silk Road had primary been geo-economical rout that linked different civilizations, continents, empires and countries. Therefore its potentials were always closely linked with world power’s interests. Contemporary Silk Road’s “universalism” re-gained importance after the end of Cold War and multi-polarism revival in International relations at the beginning of 21st Century (increased progress of China, Russia, BRICS Countries, Turkey, etc.). Silk Road initiatives were launched by the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), Turkey, United States (US) with India’s “back-up”, Russia, and “latest” one by China. Starting from its strategic policy principles (“patience”), China obviously wanted to see what other partners could “offer”, later on making the “synthesis” formed by own objectives and goals.

The European Union (EU) launched “first newest” Silk Road initiative (TRACECA) in Brussels in 1993 including participation of EU and 14 Member States of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.  The major objective was related to forming International Transport Corridor from Europe, crossing the Black Sea, Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and reaching the Central Asian countries.[4] Within TRACECA International Conference “TRACECA―Restoration of the Historic Silk Route” was held in Baku (Azerbaijan) on 8 September 1998, resulting with signed “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for Development of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus–Asia” (MLA) and Technical Annexes on international railway transport, commercial maritime navigation, road transport, customs and documentation procedures.[5] Despite financial support for initiative’s implementation was maintained by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank, the opposition of USA and Russia (with Iran) led to its “freezing”. Only railway China-Kyrgyzstan was constructed in 1999.[6] Later on both Americans (during Second India-US Strategic Dialogue in 2011) and Russians (starting from context of Agreement between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan that led to creation of Eurasian Economic Union in 2015) introduced their “New Silk Road” initiatives. After withdrawal of US Army from Afghanistan in 2014, USA intended to link South, Central and Western Asia with Europe through strategic trade and energy corridor, bypassing Iran. For that purpose US Government initiated about 40 infrastructural projects.[7] Objective of US “Silk Road vision” obviously considered “containment” and reducing Russian and Chinese influence in Euro-Asian sphere, isolating also both countries’ important partner in Oil trade―Iran. That strategic deficit made “brighter” implementation perspective for “Silk Wind” project initiated within framework of TRACECA in Izmir (Turkey) in 2012. In that context Americans supported construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway till the end of 2015.[8] Mentioned facts lead to conclusion that US-Russian “Leadership in Partnership” has been considering both existence of common and opposed strategic interests, kind of “US influence Primacy”, and respecting some Russian “passive” and “regional” economic and security priorities. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nation Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and International Road Transport Union also offered their Silk Road “plans” in 2000, 2005 and 1998.[9]

Turkey also initiated “own” ambitious Silk Road plan that pretended to link ancient large “Euro-Asian” market through new transport simplification measures, customs facilities and later enhanced security cooperation. Its initiative was launched at the International Forum on the Role of Customs Administrations on facilitating and Promoting Trade among the Silk Road Countries in Antalya (Turkey) in 2008. Proposal included participation of Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan, South Korea, India, Pakistan and China. It is noticeable that almost all countries, even “rivalry” ones with the US “exception”, were gathered around this strategic and comprehensive initiative. One should conclude that it was not supported by the USA, or USA supported it “through” Turkey. Second hypothesis seems logical since “strategic” co-operation of Turkish and TRACECA project (EU and US dominated) was agreed and realized at the Forum in Batumi (Georgia) by signing Memorandum of Understanding.[10] Turkish initiative obviously represented a “sum” of Silk Road network initiatives, supposed to be supported (and controlled) by US and the EU. In that context Turkish interests probably have considered its new proclaimed “Rising Regional Power” role, with “given” increased influence (economic and security) in Euro-Asian sphere, as compensation for EU non-entering during several decades.

 

CHINESE “ONE BELT, ONE ROAD” INITIATIVE

 

Internal market reform and liberalization in China during 1970’s had enabled inflow of foreign capital and development of its industry and production. Predominantly export-oriented “new” economy was moved in “coastal economic free zone” cities at the eastern part of China. Due to growing production country became oil importer in 1993 and the world's largest one in September 2013. Since oil supplying from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Angola has been scrolling off through route “Malacca Strait” (dominated by the USA), China faced the need for alternative routs. Skovorodino-Daqing, Pakistan-China, Kazakhstan-China oil pipelines, and Central Asia-China, Myanmar-China, Altai and Power of Siberia gas pipelines were then promoted.[11] Strategic and sustainable energy supplying in 21st Century’s complex geo-political context has been crucial precondition for further Chinese development.

The “One Belt, One Road” (2013) initiative has obviously been important aspect and part of “Chinese Dream” Vision.[12] It was predicted to consist of parallel “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “One way to the 21st century Maritime Silk Road”, linking Eastern and Central China, Middle Asia, Africa and Europe, through land and sea routs.[13] New founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (50 billion dollars), Silk Road Fund (40 billion dollars, Chinese State’s Council 65% and National Development Fund’s 15% contribution through Exim and China Development bank) and private lenders (50 billion dollars) have been supposed to finance whole project, under supervision of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).[14] From geo-strategic point of view the initiative is much more land oriented trying to reduce dependence on maritime routs, avoid “devastating restrictions” for development and support “enhanced cooperation” of all participating countries.[15] From the internal one it “will compel China to introduce structural reforms in order to adapt system to the needs of development”, through “new system and model of innovation”.[16] Theoretically and methodologically, pillars of the Strategy have been “market potential and geographic advantages”, increased “bilateral cooperation” through “corridor construction”, “diversified cooperative mechanisms” and models of “Equal Development of East and West, in stages”.[17] Construction of planned railway should enable faster and cheaper transportation of goods and products then ones by sea and air.[18] The initiative represents comprehensive “Chinese preventive response” on USA strategic efforts to “contain”, control and “isolate” this country’s “independence”, primary in energy sphere.

The implementation of such complex strategy will no doubt be “universal”, geo-political and geo-economic challenge for China and all involving countries, being depended of their national interests, will, capacities, consistence and mutual cooperation. This country insists that every single and/or common activity should be based on no interference in internal affairs, no creation of spheres of influence and no striving for hegemony principles.[19] Mentioned intentions has to be marked as important contribution to international peace and development, established on economic cooperation of sovereign countries with particular identities, dignities and interests. Five crucial preconditions are necessary to be accomplished for Strategy implementation ― improved political cooperation and transport infrastructure, existence of free trade and convertible local currencies, and increased cultural integration.[20] This comprehensive, constructive and integrative approach has been offering serious potentials for project’s realization. It is supposed to be implemented and finalized in the next 10 to 15 years.[21] Important support China got from Russia in framework of two countries’ strategic cooperation that enabled China privileged access to Russia’s natural resources. Two Presidents, Mr. Vladimir Putin and Mr. Xi Jinping, agreed cooperation aiming to connect transport infrastructure with Russia-Eurasian Railway.[22] It also considered Russia’s support for China’s economic investments in Former Soviet Republics in Central Asia.[23] Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation, from geo-political point of view defensive one, is logical consequence of Trans-Atlantic “offensive activities” on all “Heartland” (Euro-Asian) borders, as well as many common neighboring economic, political and security interests.

General “security threat” for “One Belt, One Road” initiative should no doubt be in many terms USA’s opposite geo-strategic and geo-political interests (as well as EU ones), otherwise this country is first trade partner of China.[24] In that context worldwide and “regional” terrorist “capacities and potentials” of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL) should also be seriously prevented, particularly bearing in mind its obvious link with Uyghur’s extremists from China. These facts somehow lead to hypothesis that possible terrorist attacks in any Silk Road country should be “useful” for USA’s geo-political interests in sense of “slowing down” implementation of Chinese Strategy.[25] The example of “Silk Road” initiatives has been showing that very high level of economic inter-dependence and cooperation in contemporary American-Chinese relations, in one moment and phase, could be threatened by different geo-political interests. In that context important “regional pillar” for Chinese strategy implementation is supposed to be India, strategic USA’s partner, with in many terms pretty skeptical position (like, for example, the EU one). Finally, concrete economic challenge for Chinese Silk Road initiative implementation will be different level of participating countries’ economic and infrastructure development. In long-term perspective, in “rivalry game” for universal “Silk Road Crown”, Chinese “economic constructivism” has obvious “strategic advantage” in comparison with USA’s “revisionism”.

From Chinese perspective main “One Belt, One Road” initiative’s objectives have obviously been to secure China’s alternative options for safe energy supplying, its production export and agricultural import (food for 1,3 billion people population) as preconditions for further economic development. That’s why Chinese interests consider existence of “safe surroundings” for numerous Silk Road routs passing through three Continents and many countries. All that countries are logically supposed to be stable, offer concrete “regional” and “local” contribution, and later on enjoy many benefits. Chinese economic and infrastructure investments in them are obvious contribution to their stability, development and security, particularly ones in Central Asia and Europe that still have not become members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and/or European Union (EU)―Former Soviet Union Republics and South-Eastern European Countries. All of them have economic and geo-strategic perspective and interest to become active “One Belt, One Road” initiative contributors, but their actions will remain limited in by American influence in Central Asia, Middle East and Western Europe. Since EU membership accession process for every country considers approximately a decade, main Chinese “Silk Road partners” in South-Eastern Europe mostly remain Serbia and Macedonia despite security challenges related to Status of Serbian Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) Province and internal (also external) Macedonian divisions.

 

EUROPEAN UNION (EU) AND CENTRAL-EASTERN EUROPEAN (CEEC) COUNTRIES’ POSITION AND ROLE

 

Trans-Atlantic USA-NATO-EU geo-strategic, military and economic link has probably been representing a key universal player in International Affairs at least in second part of 20th Century.  At the beginning of 21st one, in context of China’s and Russia’s “rising”, Trans-Atlantic geo-political interest regarding logically and generally considered the need for prevention and reducing their higher influence in Europe (especially EU). That’s the main reason why both USA and EU generally assess “One Road, One Belt” Initiative with skepticism. On “subsidiary” level, USA Foreign Policy has been far-seeing planned, “universally” oriented and consistent. On the other partner’s side, otherwise EU has officially been expressing tendency to act as “independent political player” in International relations, its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) was still not coherent and united, expressing often unclear and double barreled position towards many international issues. “Undefined space” and NATO “umbrella” has been proving USA’s key influence in European foreign affairs in second part of 20th Century. But mentioned “undefined space” also became strategic “potential” and chance for Russian and Chinese influence in Europe in 21st Century.

“Old” EU members (who founded European Economic Community (EEC) at the end of 1950’s) has already been establishing political and economic cooperation with China for several decades, “setting aside” China―Central and Eastern Countries cooperation (CEEC). One could imagine that from European perspective cooperation with “Asian Tiger” is kind of most influential EU countries’ (Germany, France, Netherlands, Britain, etc.) “privilege”, supposed to direct and control it. It is even logical since contemporary EU has been facing serious internal and border challenges (Britain’s EU position, deep economic crisis in Greece, Croatia and Portugal; civil war in Ukraine; illegal migration flows; uncertain political and security situation in Macedonia, Serbia (Kosovo and Metohija) and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Otherwise many of mentioned countries out of EU showed clear tendency to become EU members, their perspectives for sure were uncertain for described reasons. New geo-political pre-composition and picture which are in creating at the European continent has obviously been considering formation of “multi-dimensional concentric circle” zones, existence of separated spheres of big countries’ influence and many “buffer-link” countries possessing “mixed DNA presence”. Comprehensive Chinese understanding of responsibility and cooperation does not have “elitist political character” but primary mutual economic benefit.

Most indicative and important example of current EU’s position (through member Greece) towards “One Belt, One Road” initiative has been related to the privatization of Greek Piraeus port.[26] It started with support of Former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Syriza and new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prevented further privatization with European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) support, while Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis recently announced that the privatization would continue after short delay in context of New Government’s full support to “One Belt, One Road” initiative.[27] At this moment Chinese company owns 33% of the Port, while 67% are supposed to be sold.[28] Mentioned position is primary to be understood as Greek (rather than EU) one within its efforts to “balance” pressures (“blackmails”) from EU (particularly Germany) and IMF. Greece obviously tried to gain more comfortable “short-term” perspective and position. Since its Government recently accomplished to agree with IMF and EU new credit conditions, Greek further actions towards “One Belt, One Road” initiative (and port privatization) would obviously stay mostly influenced by mentioned supra-national institutions, rather than national interests. That fact would additionally “limit” Chinese economic dynamism in Europe and Greece. Despite that China has been considering EU the “major role player” in global political and economic architecture, its crucial partner to build with World based on “civilization, peace, reform and growth”, with “no conflict of fundamental interests”.[29] China has generally been supporting “multi-polar world moving toward globalization”, as well as “European integration process, stable Europe and strong euro”.[30] Also in this case essential difference between EU’s and Chinese strategic approach could be described by the lack and existence of Constructivism. China obviously remains widely open for comprehensive and sophisticated cooperation and trade, while EU “crucifies” and agonizes itself with unclear position and goals, influenced by the USA.

Central and Eastern European countries’ (CEEC) geographic position and market capacities represented important “regional potential” for “One Belt, One Road” initiative’s implementation. These countries already enjoy good political relations with China, accompanied by mutual trust and deepened practical cooperation. Mechanism for China―CEEC cooperation (China+16) was established in Warsaw (Poland) in 2012 as a framework supposed to facilitate growing cooperation in the areas of energy infrastructure, agriculture, science, education, culture and tourism, as well as faster construction of “Silk Road Economic Belt”. For mentioned purposes that time Chinese Prime Minister, Mr. Wen Jiabao, approved 10 billion dollars for whole Region’s development. Trying to establish more coherent and intensive cooperation he proposed institutional and annual meetings of Prime Ministers. During the Second one in Bucharest (Romania) in November 2013 new Chinese Prime Minister, Mr. Li Keqiang, approved the proposal and established Development Fund in which every country would individually participate. Since CEEC have been passing through economic transition during deep international and European crisis, for all of them investments from China were mostly welcomed. On the other side CEEC were supposed to “help” China to access EU market more easily and get modern technologies.[31] Poland and Hungary showed special will and interest for cooperation with China. Even Czech Republic overcome some historical disputes. High-ranking exchanges followed. Polish Government launched two-way project “Go China” and “Go Poland” in 2012, pretending to create free action space for polish enterprises in China and Chinese ones in Poland. It was focusing on trade, reciprocal investments and railways’ construction (“Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe” and “Chengdu-Lodz”).[32] Hungarian officials also expressed high level interest for joining “Silk Road Economic Belt” initiative. Many CEEC, especially Hungary, obviously recognized concrete bilateral economic and national interest for cooperation with China. In that context EU’s “One Belt, One Road consideration” was related to “mediation” through Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and new launched initiative for Bilateral investment treaty (BIT) during 2014. Its approach continued to be undefined and “parallel” (supra-national and bilateral), seeking implementation through Mechanisms of EU-China and China-EU members’ bilateral cooperation.[33] EU strategic approach towards Chinese initiative obviously added up to some of its border countries’ bilateral relations, to be controlled and directed from “supra-national” Brussels. It allows EU to have “more flexible” position in sense of undertaking responsibility for results of strategic cooperation.

Central-Eastern European countries (CEEC) are key players and partners in implementation process of Chinese land Silk Road Strategy. Majority of them have concrete economic interest to improve cooperation with China. Bearing in mind previously described EU skepticism towards “One Belt, One Road” initiative (“slow down” and control intention) and the fact that mostly CEEC are EU members, it is logical to conclude that their bilateral cooperation with China do not have high-level and international perspective. It will remain “subsidiary intensive” because exactly that is both in short and middle-term interest of China, and acceptable for the EU. On Whatever happens in further strategic USA-EU-Russia-China relations, CEEC (especially Poland being positioned between EU and Russia) will remain “Eurasian Continental Bridge” interested constantly to improve bilateral (mostly economic, infrastructure and transportation) relations with China. Intensity and level of China-CEEC cooperation in many terms will be conditioned by achieved level of “strategic” China-EU cooperation, as well as Chinese “local” dynamism and intensity of activities in CEEC.

 

SERBIA’S “REGIONALLY INTEGRATIVE” PERSPECTIVE AND POSITION

 

Identity of modern Serbian state had been founded on universal Orthodox principles incorporated in term of Svetosavlje.[34] Svetosavlje, finally formed by Saint Nikolaj (Velimirović) as living philosophy of Serbian people in the first half of 20th Century, had been consisting of spiritual values necessarily linked and implemented in social and political life. The very essence of this philosophy is related to the Source of God’s Love given to people for universal, collective and individual benefit, and Final Salvation.[35] “Horizontal aspect” and social implementation of Svetosavlje, like Taoism and Confucianism one, is crucially non-violent and widespread responsible (care for “everyone’s benefit and interest” in context of Symphony and Salvation). In geo-political sense, according to Saint Sava, “Serbs had been determined by destiny to be East on the West and West on the East, recognizing on Earth no one but Heaven Jerusalem!“[36] Mentioned principle has often been causing large scale of miss-understandings and miss-interpretations like those accusing it for “unclearness” and “non-pragmatism”. In fact it is closely linked with freedom and dignity values, meaning in practice that every cooperation and collaboration, with everyone, are mostly welcomed and supported only if are in common (collective) benefit of participators, despite their particular interests. In that context essential criteria to evaluate each position and activity, collective and/or individual, has been the action’s results despite any declarative intentions.[37] Saint Sava had been real peacemaker who achieved to create well-being relations between all people in that time South-Eastern Europe, taking also particular care to preserve and protect political independence of Serbian State, positioned on the “cross-roads of civilizations”.[38] It is clear and obvious that contemporary Serbia has been trying to achieve exactly the same in completely new international circumstances linked with high level of universal interdependence.

Bearing in mind mentioned value and identity pre-conditions and heritage, Serbia’s Foreign Policy has been based on (conditioned on) four (4) pillars ― European Union (EU) whose member would like to become; Russia as rising power, important energy subject and traditional historical friend; USA as dominant power in International relations; and, not the least, China as rising world economic power.[39] Otherwise Serbia is small South-Eastern European country in sense of territory and limited economic capacities, its identity, culture and historical heritage influenced and made her international approach “universal”, “strategic” and responsible also in 21st Century. Despite the lack of economic potentials in predominantly economic era and bearing in mind current geo-political situation, Serbia’s and China’s peaceful openness, some identity “commonalities”, excellent historical relations and both sides’ clear political will made Serbia to be probably most reliable partner of China in this part of the World.[40] That’s why Strategic Chinese-Serbian Cooperation (Agreement) was officially established in 2009, consisting of economic, political and security cooperation.[41] It brought two counties’ relations to high level and opened up new horizons and perspectives. Especially important for Serbia was economic cooperation bearing in mind wider crisis context, universal, European and internal. Mentioned strategic cooperation framework already enabled Serbia to deliver 56 projects to the Secretariat of CEEC Mechanism.

Most important impetus for two countries’ cooperation was given during The Third Meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEEC, held in Belgrade (Serbia) in December 2014. Implementation progress of 2013 Bucharest Guidelines opened “new driving force” for multilateral and bilateral cooperation within EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. Prime Ministers (PM) wanted to give further contribution to “peace, growth and reform” through “civilization based principles of equality, respect and trust”.[42] Basic instruments for accomplishing these objectives and goals has been “win-win cooperation” based on respect of participating countries’ legislation and regulations. A formulation of Medium-term agenda for China-CEEC cooperation was agreed for next PM meeting in China in 2015, while Serbia was individually encouraged to lead establishment of China-CEEC Association on transport and infrastructure cooperation.[43] Also, enhanced economic cooperation and trade and investments were promoted in Belgrade.[44] Regarding financial cooperation Prime Ministers invited all their financial institutions to improve financing conditions for business (10 billion dollars credit was offered for these purposes), expand business in participating countries and support Central Banks to sign currency swap agreements.[45] Finally, they stimulated cooperation in science, technology, innovation, environmental protection and energy,[46] as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges at sub-national level.[47] China-CEEC Cooperation Framework contours’ were obviously strengthened, “strategically” positioned and “centralized” at Belgrade Meeting, but as regional aspect of wider Strategic China-EU Cooperation. Mix of Chinese constructivism, EU’s skepticism and CEEC’s individual optimism could somehow “strategically isolate” EU in the future, or come it to “Old and Core Europe”. For sure that kind of scenario would primary be logical consequence of EU’s internal tightness that knock off general law of market―competitiveness. Of course “Trans-Atlantic protectionism” is supposed to “fulfill” that kind of “emptiness”. For Serbia at this moment remain crucial to maintain economic instruments and political support for further reforms, stability and development, and exactly that this country “subsidiary” gets from China due to its interests in this part of the World. On the other side current “calm but intensive” NATO’s influence and tendencies within some parts of Serbian political elite, related to possible Serbia’s membership, doubtless “slow down” development of Serbian-Chinese Strategic Cooperation.

During Belgrade Meeting Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Li Kequiang, starting from “win-win strategy of opening-up”, repeated that Top China’s Priority remain linked to World’s peaceful development, regional stability and security. In that context he emphasized geo-strategic importance of China-CEEC “growing mutual trust”, marking as core of cooperation Chinese huge market and sufficient capital, and CEEC’s “solid economic foundation”, natural resources and high-level of scientific and educational development.[48] He supported “industrial integration” based on Chinese investments, industrial and financial cooperation, and cultural exchange.[49] Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vučić, as source and key point of Chinese-Serbian cooperation perspective marked his country’s political courage and will to overcome negative heritage from the past of Western Balkans, focusing mainly on economic development through European integration process.[50] For this goal accomplishment Serbia needs investments, infrastructure, economic growth and competitive market, offering in turn talented young people and suitable conditions for China-CEEC projects’ implementation.[51] Regarding concrete steps within Serbian-Chinese strategic cooperation he marked visa liberalization and Serbia’s full support to all innovative models, agreements of currencies swap, new forms of inter-banking cooperation and “diversification of Project systems financing” through “concessions or private-public partnership”.[52] It is obvious that Serbian PM generally evaluates China-CEEC cooperation within the EU’s “umbrella”. Serbian-Chinese cooperation is seen as aspect and instrument which will support and speed up Serbia’s reforms and EU Integration process and later Membership. Regarding the forms of various projects’ implementation Serbian support to all types of concessions can be expected in the future, especially ones related to transportation infrastructure (Cleaning the riverbed of Danube, high-ways and railways, etc.). According to PM Vučić, implementation of China-Serbia- -Hungary Railway Agreement remains Serbia’ top priority due to its wider potential to connect in perspective also Greece and Macedonia with CEEC.[53] Since Serbia has been privileged to lead Infrastructure Coordination Council within China-CEEC cooperation he concluded that it would continue to promote “long-term strategies” and “political visions” for “future of stability, cooperation and prosperity“ of all participating countries.[54] PM Vučić obviously emphasized that Serbia remained Chinese “Strategic pillar partner“ and leader of China-CEEC cooperation in South-Eastern Europe. Belgrade Speeches of two Prime Ministers shown that China’s approach was comprehensively planned, “reality-based and optimistic”, “ratio-patient” and “step by step” oriented, representing China’s universal and constructive strategic responsibility and leadership. On the other side, being “crucified” between past and current economic situation, and “East” and “West” orientation and future, Serbia showed clear political will and readiness to support actively China-CEEC and all aspects of bilateral cooperation. Previously described Serbia’s identity, current geo-political and its economic position could lead to hypothesis and prediction that in Serbia’s mid-term interest, before potential EU membership, could be quick implementation of some “shared” and concession projects, particularly ones that link China, this country and EU. Beside railway Budapest-Belgrade, in the light of recent initiatives related to “revival” of  Corridor 10 even in some EU countries (during several conferences in Wiena, Austria, in June 2015 the Danube river also possess important “potentials” for “uniting” strategic interests of China, EU and Serbia’s. For example, investments in this river would for sure facilitate transportation and trade in the area from Black Sea, through several EU countries and Serbia, till Germany.

Starting from Agreement between Chinese Government and European Community on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Custom Matters (December 2004) and Strategic Framework for Customs Cooperation between China and the EU 2014-2017, during Belgrade Meeting Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian Customs have signed the Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance. The Document consisted of envisaged cooperation in customs control, mutual administrative assistance and exchange of informations.[55] The parties agreed to make scope of cooperation through publicly available customs procedures supposed to establish and maintain liaison channels for information exchange and share best practices; make lower inspection rate respecting each party’s jurisdiction; commonly prevent, investigate and punish violations of customs laws; exchange and train experts and officers within information technologies shared experience; and cooperate with private sector.[56] Customs working group was established to evaluate and coordinate implementation on regular meetings basis.[57] Regarding Legal status, the Document was not international convention with possible amendments or appendixes to be adopted through consensus.[58] Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance between four (4) partner countries represented another important framework and instrument supposed to facilitate and increase trade cooperation on regional level within the strategic context. It is noticeable that in territorial sense, as partly Belgrade-Budapest railway, this Agreement has also been linking countries of Corridor 10 and ones through which further “Turkish Stream” (Gas pipeline supposed to start in Russia and link Turkey, Western Balkans and Europe) should pass. That fact makes it geo-politicaly and energy important.

Finally, Memorandum of Understanding related to cooperation on Project Hungarian-Serbian Railways was signed by Chinese National Commission for Development and Reforms, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure in Belgrade in December 2014. It was based on three countries’ “clear intension to promote economic benefits through infrastructure project’s cooperation”.[59] Envisaged railway should link two capitals, Budapest and Belgrade, in the length of 350km. Modernized double-path and electricity lines would be used for transport of passengers and goods, according to Hungary’s and Serbia’s national regulations.[60] Chinese role in the Project should be kind of “supervisory” one, imagining on participation of its railway technologies and equipment.[61] This “trilateral” cooperation would be based on Project’s Feasibility Study led by China, and implemented through INI (engineering, tender and construction) with financing, Public-Private Partnership (JPP) and/or concession (construct and manage). Final form is to be defined after Feasibility Study, and could consider a mix of all mentioned ones depending on Hungary’s and Serbia’s capacities.[62] China is also allowed to propose authorized Chinese company to lead construction and offere financing loans till the 85% amount of the Project value.[63] Representative organizations appointed by three parties (Chinese Railway Corporation, Hungarian State Railways Co. and Railways of Serbia) will do the Feasibility Study, create a Working Plan till 30 June 2015, meet on regularly basis and send the evaluation reports.[64] The Memorandum will stay into force until the Project’s realization, with the exception of one’s side written intention to leave it.[65] Full implementation of China-Hungary-Serbia Railway Project is doubtless of crucial importance for Serbian national interests. This railway should link part of South-Eastern Europe transport and trade spine with one EU capital, making pre-condition and first step for line extension till Thessaloniki in Greece (EU sea port). In case the railway is to be completely built in future, Serbia would become a core centre and Southern “bridge” within China-EU (and CEEC) strategic cooperation and trade.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Through centuries there had been many Silk Road initiatives and routs depending on present power states’ influence. Contemporary ones also represent a mix of their geo-political and economic interests, pretending to create a trade link but also “buffer corridor” between three Continents―Asia, Africa and Europe. In high level interdependent World most competitive Silk Road “rivals and partners” today are United States (USA), China, European Union (EU) and Russia, supporting numerous “regional players”.

From Chinese perspective “One Belt, One Road” initiative’s objective has primary been related to demands of this country’s further economic development (safe energy supplying, support to production export and agricultural import) but also International Community one through promoting universal, peaceful and comprehensive values and cooperation. Starting from their “universally-particular” geo-political interests and China’s accelerated development, Trans-Atlantic partners (USA-EU) generally consider this initiative with skepticism trying to “slow down” its wider implementation.  In context of deep economic crisis Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), as “Eurasian Continental Bridge”, have concrete bilateral interest (economic, infrastructure and transportation one) to improve and increase cooperation with China, expressing clear will to participate actively in “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Despite that intensity and level of China-CEEC cooperation in many terms will be conditioned by results of strategic China-EU cooperation, USA’s influence in Europe and Chinese “subsidiary” and “local” dynamism and activities. The outcome will be a consequence of mixed Chinese constructivism, EU’s skepticism and CEEC’s individual optimism.

Serbia’s EU membership is not certain for at least 7-8 years due to length of accession process and challenges both the EU and Serbia (Kosovo issue) have been facing with. That’s why this country has obvious national interest to preserve and increase strategic partnership with China and implement all “One Belt, One Road” projects in its territory as soon as possible. In short and mid-term such outcome would “balance” all “strategic pressures” towards Serbia by “Western partners” (USA and EU), allowing it to act more “politicaly independent” in International Affairs. Concretely, Chinese investments and common projects realization would support Serbia’s economic growth, especially its infrastructure and trade potentials. The country would doubtless then be more “suitable and stable” candidate for the EU membership, what is country’s first “regional” priority. Once built Budapest-Belgrade Railway and implemented Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance would make Serbia transport and trade spine of South-Eastern Europe that links even three continets throught “One Belt, One Raod” initiative. On the other side China would have reliable partner in South-Eastern Europe, important stronghold and “short-term” EU candidate who offers link and “balance contribution” within China-EU (and CEEC) strategic relations. If Serbia becomes EU member one day China will already have achieved high level of cooperation with another EU country. If Serbia remains EU candidate or non-EU country for longer time China will even have “more space” for economic cooperation with this country. It is obvious that in every case Serbia remains “unavoidable” partner of China in this part of the World.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Documents

 

1.         The Belgrade Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014;

2.         Remarks by H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the Third meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, Belgrade, 16 December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014;

3.         Presentation of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić during the Meeting of Heads of Governments China-CEEC, Belgrade, 16 December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014;

4.         Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance among the Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian Customs, Belgrade, December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, 2014;

5.         Memorandum of Understanding related to cooperation on Project Hungarian-Serbian Railways between National Commission for Development and Reforms of People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic f Serbia, “Službeni glasnik RS-Međunarodni ugovori”, br. 1/2015, 16. januar 2015.

 

 Literature

 

1.          Lewis, M. E., China’s cosmopolitan empire: The Tang Dinasty (History of Imperial China), The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2009;

2.          Jurišić, K., “Pola stoljeća NR Kine”, Politička misao, Vol. 36, No. 3, 1999;

3.          Zhiping, P., “Silk Road Economic Belt: A Dynamic New Concept for Geopolitics in Central Asia”, China’s Institute of International Studies, 2014, Internet: http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-09/18/content_7243440.htm, Accessed 25 May 2015;

4.          Fedorenko, V., The new Silk Road initiatives in Central Asia, Rethink Institute, Washington DC, 2013, pp. 17–19;

5.          Zuokui, L., “The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in the Building of Silk Road Economic Belt”, China Institute of European Studies, 2014, Internet: http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-09/18/content_7243192.htm, Accessed 15 June 2015;

6.          Bozkurt, A., “Turkish minister says reviving Silk Road trade route remains Turkey's goal”, Today’s Zaman, Internet: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=299947, Accessed 25 May 2015;

7.          Storey, I. “China’s Mallaca Dilemma”, China Brief, Vol. 6, Issue 8, 2006, Internet:  http://www.jamestown.org/programs/chinabrief/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=31575&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=196&no_cache=1, Accessed 2 May 2015;

8.          China File, “With New Fund, China Hits a Silk Road Stride”, 2014, Internet:  http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/caixin-media/new-fund-china-hits-silk-road-stride, Accessed 5 June 2015;

9.          Shi Ze, “One Road and One Belt’ and New Thinking With Regard to Concepts and Practice”, Chinese Institute of International Studies, 2014, Internet:  http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-11/25/content_7394056.htm, Accessed 1 June 2015;

10.      Xinhuanet, “Chronology of China's ’Belt and Road’ initiatives”, 2015, Internet: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2015-02/05/c_133972101.htm, Accessed 03 June 2015;

11.      China Daily, “Piraeus port deal still alive, Greek deputy PM says”, 28 March 2015, Internet: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-03/28/content_19935378.htm, Accessed 28 April 2015;

12.      European Commission, “Joint Statement: Deepening the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit”, 2014, Internet: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-14-89_en.htm, Accessed 28 May 2015;

13.      Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, „Православље и екуменизам, Светосавље као философија живота“, Манастир Ћелије, Београд, 2012;

14.      Сава Немањић―Свети Сава, историја и предање, Српска академија наука и уметности (САНУ), академик Вијислав Ђурић (уред.), Београд 1979;

15.      Патријарх Павле, СПЦ својој духовној деци о Светом Сави 1991. године“, Гласник Српске Патријаршије, 1991, стр. 1-2;

16.      Драган Петровић, Драган Ђукановић, Стубови спољне политике Србије―ЕУ, Русија, САД и Кина, Институт за међународну политику и привреду (ИМПП), Београд, 2012;

17.      Shaofeng, C., “China’s Self­Extrication from the ’Malacca Dilemma’ and Implications”, International Journal of China Studies, Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya, 2010, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 6-19.



[1] Nikolić, Marko, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Institute of International Politics and Economics (IIPE), Belgrade, Serbia. E-mail: markon@diplomacy.bg.ac.rs.

[2] Lewis, M. E., China’s cosmopolitan empire: The Tang Dinasty (History of Imperial China), The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2009. He pointed out that widespread network of silk roads, both on land and sea, had been existed for many centuries, linking Europe and Asia, China, Byzantium and Rome.

[3] That time UN General Assembly Declaration has been mentioning peaceful coexistence, respect for sovereignty and territorial integritynon-aggressionnon-interference in internal affairs and equality and mutual benefits. More detailed in: Jurišić, K., “Pola stoljeća NR Kine” (Half Century of PR of China), Politička misao, Vol. 36, No. 3, 1999, pp. 37-39.

[4] TRACECA members are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Mongolia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iran, and observer Lithuania. For more details see: http://www.traceca-org.org/en/traceca/history-of-traceca/, Internet, Accessed 20 June 2015.

[5] Ibidem.

[6] Zhiping, P., “Silk Road Economic Belt: A Dynamic New Concept for Geopolitics in Central Asia”, China’s Institute of International Studies, 2014, Internet: http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-09/18/content_7243440.htm, Accessed 25 May 2015.

[7] Shaofeng, C., “China’s Self­Extrication from the ’Malacca Dilemma’ and Implications”, International Journal of China Studies, Institute of China Studies. University of Malaya, 2010, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 7.

[8] Fedorenko, V., The new Silk Road initiatives in Central Asia, Rethink Institute, Washington DC, 2013, pp. 17–19.

[9] Zuokui, L., “The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in the Building of Silk Road Economic Belt”, China Institute of European Studies, 2014, Internet: http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-09/18/content_7243192.htm, Accessed 15 June 2015.

[10] Bozkurt, A., “Turkish minister says reviving Silk Road trade route remains Turkey's goal”, Today’s Zaman, Internet: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=299947, Accessed 25 May 2015.

[11] Beijing University professor Chen Shaofeng stated that “whoever controls the Strait of Malacca, effectively grips China’s strategic energy passage, and can threaten China's energy security at any time”. See in: Storey, I. “China’s Mallaca Dilemma”, China Brief, Vol. 6, Issue 8, 2006, Internet:  http://www.jamestown.org/programs/chinabrief/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=31575&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=196&no_cache=1, Accessed 2 May 2015.

[12] Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping launched it at the Third plenary session of the 18th Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Congress in November 2012, based on four key pillars: cooperationdevelopmentpeace and “win-win” results.

[13] Silk Road Economic Belt” should be passing through Xi’an (Central China), Lanzhou (Gansu province), Urumqi (Xinjiang), Khorgas (Xinjiang), northern Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey (Bosporus Strait), through Europe in Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands (Rotterdam) and ending in Italy (Venice). “21st century Maritime Silk Road” has been supposed to start in Quanzhou (Fujian province), passing through Guangzhou (Guangdong province), Beihai (Guangxi) and Haikou (Hainan), joining Malacca Strait― Kuala Lumpur, India (Kolkata and Indian Ocean), Africa (Kenya, Nairobi), turning to Red Sea, entering the Mediterranean and Greece (Athens), and finally joining “Silk Road” in Italy (Venice).

[14] China File, “With New Fund, China Hits a Silk Road Stride”, 2014, Internet:  http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/caixin-media/new-fund-china-hits-silk-road-stride, Accessed 5 June 2015.

[15] Shi Ze, “One Road and One Belt’ and New Thinking With Regard to Concepts and Practice”, Chinese Institute of International Studies, 2014, Internet:  http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-11/25/content_7394056.htm, Accessed 1 June 2015.

[16] Ibidem.

[17] Zuokui, Liu, “The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in the Building of Silk Road Economic Belt” China Institute of International Studies, 2014, Internet: http://www.ciis.org.cn/english/2014-09/18/content_7243192.htm,  Accessed 1 June 2015.

[18] Ibidem.

[19] Shi Ze, “One Road and One Belt’ and New Thinking With Regard to Concepts and Practice”, 2014, op.cit.

[20] Remarks by H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the Third meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, Belgrade, 16 December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014.

[21] Zhiping, P., “Silk Road Economic Belt: A Dynamic New Concept for Geopolitics in Central Asia”, China Institute of International Studies, 2014, op.cit.

[22] Xinhuanet, “Chronology of China's ’Belt and Road’ initiatives”, 2015, Internet: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2015-02/05/c_133972101.htm, Accessed 03 June 2015.

[23] Ibidem.

[24] Majority of economic analysis showed that for many years USA were the largest importer of Chinese products in the world, and the largest goods export from China was going to the USA.

[25] During the Round Table entitled “USA Foreign Policy Priorities”, held in IIPE on 15 May 2015, Introduction speech was given by Mr. Branislav Anocić, Former Director of Serbian Military-Intelligence Agency (VOA) and Military Attaché in Washington. One of his considerations and hypothesis was that in General USA’s interest, both on universal, regional and local level, was to maintain status quo, “leaving things to happen but allowing nothing to achieve”. The author of this article is free to conclude that USA should generally like to preserve its “World Primacy” by “containing” not only Russia but also China by implementing “negative-balancing approach” (kind of universal obstruction). This concretely implies that USA’s interest regarding “One Belt, One Road” Strategy considers its “control” for promoting and further developing of American Silk Road initiative.

[26] Analyzing current crisis in Greece several researchers from German Schiller Institute are even of opinion that this is another country (beside Ukraine, Middle East and Central Asia ones) where USA’s, Russia’s and Chinese interests met in conflict. As its worst outcome they even predict Greek withdrawal from the EU (as consequence of EU “blackmail”) and Russia’s increased involvement in Greece “backed-up” by Chinese “sensitive” contribution. Starting from its geo-political priorities USA (with Britain’s support) would then be “forced” even to start the war in this area. Of course position like this, at least in case of China, do not bear in mind proclaimed and mentioned Chinese principle of non creation of spheres of influence

[27] China Daily, “Piraeus port deal still alive, Greek deputy PM says”, 28 March 2015, Internet: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-03/28/content_19935378.htm, Accessed 28 April 2015.

[28] Zuokui, L., “The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in the Building of Silk Road Economic Belt”, 2014, op.cit.

[29] Remarks by H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the Third meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, Belgrade, 16 December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014, p.4.

[30] Ibidem.

[31] Zuokui, L., “The Role of Central and Eastern Europe in the Building of Silk Road Economic Belt”, 2014, op.cit.

[32] Ibidem.

[33] European Commission, “Joint Statement: Deepening the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit”, 2014, Internet: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-14-89_en.htm, Accessed 28 May 2015. For example, Luxembourg and Belgium have signed BIT with China, and Croatia has not.

[34] The “Spirit of Ecumenical Christianity”, promoted through “national experience and expression of Orthodoxy”, had been introduced to Serbian People by Saint Sava (Nemanjić) in the 12th Century. This man was founder both of Serbian Church and State, positioning these two “existential entities” into relation of Symphony

[35] Преподобни Јустин Ћелијски, „Православље и екуменизам, Светосавље као философија живота“, Манастир Ћелије, Београд, 2012, стр. 240–241.

[36] Сава Немањић―Свети Сава, историја и предање, Српска академија наука и уметности (САНУ), академик Вијислав Ђурић (уред.), Београд 1979.

[37] „Патријарх Павле, СПЦ својој духовној деци о Светом Сави 1991. године“, Гласник Српске Патријаршије, 1991, стр. 1.

[38] Ibidem.

[39] For more detailed information see: Драган Петровић, Драган Ђукановић, Стубови спољне политике Србије―ЕУ, Русија, САД и Кина, Институт за међународну политику и привреду (ИМПП), Београд, 2012, стр. 9.

[40] Namely, Serbia has been pretending to become EU member for economic reasons and further development, is officially neutral country (despite some very extensive foreign and internal political elites want to make it NATO member) that has still been facing open threats and pressures related to territorial integrity (Kosovo and Metohija Province) by major Transatlantic partners. On the other side China has also been crucially interested to improve strategic cooperation with EU for economic reasons and peaceful strategic development, stayed military neutral and defensive oriented, and faced some threats related to “surroundings” strategic stability supposed to enable country’s development. 

[41] During several receptions Former Chinese Ambassador in Serbia, Mr. Zhang Wanxue, explained the author that similar historical experiences, geographic position of Serbia, common views on many international issues, non-interference principle in relation with other countries and economic and trade cooperation potentials brought China to establish Strategic Partnership with Serbia.

[42] The Belgrade Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014.

[43] Within enhanced transportation infrastructure were mentioned building of China-Europe International and Belgrade-Budapest railways; roads, ports and airports infrastructure development; customs clearance facilitation, etc.

[44] Financial cooperation considered fight against protectionism, forming China-CEEC Business Council in Warsaw and New Secretariat of Investment Promotion Agencies, Bulgaria’s leadership in Association for  agricultural trade, Ministerial Meetings every two years and cooperation of Small and Medium Enterprises. More detailed in:  The Belgrade Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, op.cit., pp. 1-3.

[45] Ibidem, pp. 4-5.

[46] Communication technologies and research projects, protecting wildlife and forests, green economy and eco-culture, responsible use of nuclear energy, sustainable use of natural resources, op.cit., pp. 5-6.

[47] Cultural and Art organizations, training and creative work, platform building, Expert Forum for cultural heritage, High-level and regular Think Thanks and Educational Symposiums, journalists and Young Political Leaders visits, Promotion of Tourism, Film Festivals, Health ministers exchange, op.cit., pp. 6-7.

[48] Remarks by H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China at the Third meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, Belgrade, 16 December 2014, op.cit.

[49] Ibidem, pp. 2-4.

[50] Presentation of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić during the Meeting of Heads of Governments China-CEEC, Belgrade, 16 December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, Serbia, Belgrade, 2014, p. 2.

[51] Ibidem.

[52] Ibidem.

[53] Ibidem.

[54] Ibidem.

[55] Article 1, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance among the Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian CustomsBelgrade, December 2014, Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Directorate for Asia and Far East, p. 2. 

[56] Article 2, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance among the Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian Customsop.cit., p. 3.

[57] Article 3, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance among the Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian Customsop.cit., p. 3.

[58] Articles 4, 5 and 6, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance among the Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian Customsop.cit., p. 4.

[59] Memorandum of Understanding related to cooperation on Project Hungarian-Serbian Railways between National Commission for Development and Reforms of People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic f Serbia, “Službeni glasnik RS-Međunarodni ugovori”, br. 1/2015, 16. januar 2015, Introduction Part and Articles 1 and 4.

[60] Ibidem, Articles 2 and 3.

[61] Ibidem, Article 4.

[62] Ibidem, Article 5.

[63] Ibidem, more detailed in: Article 6.

[64] Ibidem, Articles 7 and 8.

[65] Ibidem, Article 9.


From Huang Ping, Liu Zuokui, eds., China-CEEC Cooperation and the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Beijing: China Social Sciences Press, 2016.