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China, Serbia pledge stronger economic ties
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Chinese and Serbian leaders on Friday vowed to further enhance the economic cooperation between the two countries.

"The key of our cooperation at present is to tackle the global economic slump, encourage mutual investment and exploration of markets," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told visiting Serbian President Boris Tadic during a meeting.

China-Serbia trade stood at 125 million U.S. dollars in the first five months of this year, down 33.1 percent year on year amid the global economic downturn.

Wen called for more personnel and information exchanges in the business sector and encouraged financial institutions to offer financing service for big projects. "With the joint efforts, China-Serbia ties will reach a new high," Wen said.

Wen's comments came a day after Chinese President Hu Jintao and Tadic announced the establishment of a China-Serbia strategic partnership, which meant closer political contacts, wider economic collaboration and more people-to-people exchanges, among other things.

"Both nations should take the establishment of strategic partnership as an opportunity to deepen mutual trust and collaboration and benefit both peoples," Wen said.

Tadic, the first Serbian head of state to visit China since Serbia became an independent state in 2006, lauded the new strategic partnership as "a new chapter" in bilateral relations.

Tadic echoed Wen's comments on the economic front, promising increased collaboration on trade, investment and infrastructure.

The 51-year-old president also sought China's understanding and cooperation on major international and regional issues.

Later Friday, top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo also met with Tadic in Beijing.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), reviewed the China-Serbia traditional friendship, saying "there aren't any historical or realistic obstacles between our two nations."

Wu underlined the importance of the bilateral strategic partnership and called for continued exchanges between legislatures of the two nations.

During his week-long China visit, Tadic will also travel to Shaanxi Province, home to the Terracotta Warriors, and China's financial hub Shanghai.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2009)

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