[World Times]


Belgrade, Serbia Photo: VCG

Editor’s Note:

The brave resistance of China’s ironclad friend, Serbia, against NATO during its aggression against former Yugoslavia in 1999, has touched many in China. The legendary achievement of the Serbian Air Force and Air Defense in shooting down a stealth fighter for the first time in human history won the respect of many Chinese people. In April, the news of Belgrade’s purchase of FK-3 air defense systems from Beijing sparked discussions in the Western world. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Milos Vucevic (Vucevic) shared his views on this and other hot button issues in a recent exclusive interview with Global Times reporters Hu Yuwei and Fan Wei (GT).

The defense minister expresses deep gratitude to China for its wholehearted support of Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reaffirms its adherence to the one-China principle. He noted that Chinese weapons will help modernize the Serbian armed forces, and looks forward to the further development of bilateral cooperation, especially on the military front.

The senior official said that China, unlike other great powers, does not attach any conditions to its cooperation with Serbia, and has selflessly dedicated its achievements in various fields to attaining its global goals. He expressed optimism about that the tenacity of friendship between the two countries, and regarded China as one of Serbia’s most reliable friends.


Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Milos Vucevic Photo: VCG

GT: The Chinese and Serbian people have a long-standing tradition of friendly relations. During the NATO aggression against former Yugoslavia in 1999, the Chinese people stood firmly with the Serbian people to defend Serbia’s sovereignty and its right to safeguard its national unity. How do you view the efforts made by the Chinese people to support Serbia’s national stability and sovereignty?  

Vucevic: Overall, Serbia-China relations have been extremely close in recent years and are developing chiefly due to the excellent relations between the two presidents – Aleksandar Vucic and Xi Jinping. The traditional “ironclad friendship” is evidenced by the fact that in two years’ time, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries will be marked.

We are deeply grateful for China’s wholehearted support for the preservation of Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for its ever-consistent and principled position on the Kosovo-Metohija issue. The mutual understanding between Serbia and China regarding sovereignty and territorial integrity suggests that we have an excellent relationship, which, I hope, will never change.

Serbia will never forget the support of the Chinese people who stood firmly with us during the defense against the 1999 NATO aggression that was immoral and unjust, launched without the consent of the United Nations Security Council, trampling on the fundamental principles of international law. Unfortunately, we also witnessed a terrible event in which the Chinese Embassy building in Belgrade was bombed and civilians who were doing their jobs lost their lives. A commemorative plaque was placed at that spot in memory of our deceased Chinese friends who, together with us, went through the ordeal of the bombing.

We are forever grateful to the Chinese people for everything they did for us during that tragic year of 1999, and for everything they continue to do, supporting us in everything so that our people and our country would persevere through challenging times.  


The Belgrade government erects a monument in front of the former site of the Chinese Embassy in the former Yugoslavia, commemorating the Chinese martyrs who sacrificed their lives during the NATO bombing. Photo: Fan Wei/GT

GT: The Serbian military has purchased weapons and equipment developed by China, such as anti-aircraft missiles and drones. This is different from the choices made by other European countries, which mostly opt for American- or Russian-made equipment. Why did the Serbian military choose Chinese-made weapons and equipment, and what factors were considered in this decision?

Vucevic: Being a neutral country, Serbia cooperates with both its Eastern and Western partners, and has been committed to doing so for years. In the past, many assets have been delivered to Serbia, some of the most important ones undoubtedly being the Chinese FK-3 medium-range anti-aircraft missile system and the Chinese CH-95 and CH-92A UAVs.

The delivery of weapons and equipment from China has attracted public attention globally, but what is most important and what should be highlighted is that the Serbian Armed Forces are strengthening significantly thanks to the modern weapons and equipment, and are thus acquiring capabilities that they did not have before.

We will continue to enhance our capabilities, both in human resources and weapons and military equipment, in order to be able to protect our people, wherever they live, and in order to be the guarantor of Serbia’s independence.

GT: What changes have Chinese weapons and equipment brought to the Serbian defense forces?

Vucevic: Equipping our armed forces with modern weapons and military equipment is excellent news for our military personnel, but also for our citizens. All decisions regarding the procurement of equipment for and modernization of our troops are based on thorough analyses and expert assessments carried out by the competent authorities of the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces. We are referring to modern weapons with which we strive to strengthen our defense capabilities and significantly improve our combat readiness. It is certain that the acquisition of the modern FK-3 anti-aircraft system has provided added security to our airspace and our country as a whole.

Furthermore, by acquiring the CH-95 remotely piloted aircraft from our Chinese partners, we have considerably improved our aerial reconnaissance and target engagement capabilities, which many countries in the region and the world do not have.

GT: We have noticed that the weapons and equipment provided by China to Serbia are mostly defensive in nature and primarily used for safeguarding the homeland. However, some Western media sources have taken the opportunity to hype up the claim that China’s provision of weapons and equipment to Serbia has altered the regional military balance. What is your take on this view? 

Vucevic: The Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces are making great efforts to provide new and modernized weapons and military equipment intended for the defense of our country and our airspace.

Those who claim that the delivery of Chinese weapons has altered the regional military balance normally have no comment when it comes to our neighbors arming themselves with aircrafts, artillery-missile systems, armored vehicles, anti-armor systems, or drones whose purpose is the complete opposite of defense.

Serbia will continue to equip its military and enhance its defense capabilities in order to be able to address all security challenges, risks, and threats adequately, and preserve our people and our country.


The Chinese-produced FK-3 surface-to-air missile weapon system displayed at the Airshow China in Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong Province in November 2022 Photo: Fan Wei/GT

GT: Some Western countries are now trying to contain China by exploiting the Taiwan question, similar to how they used the Kosovo and Metohija issue to pressure the Serbian government. What’s your view on this?

Vucevic: We are truly grateful for China’s wholehearted support for the preservation of Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. China’s position on the Kosovo-Metohija issue has always been principled and consistent, which is proof of the true friendship between the two countries. 

In the same spirit, as the President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vucic, has repeatedly said, Serbia supports the one-China policy and condemns all attempts to threaten its unity. We strongly support the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China. For us, there is only one government with its seat in Beijing, and we view the island of Taiwan as an integral part of China.

GT: Some Western countries often smeared China as a “warlike” nation. However, in reality, China has always advocated for peaceful dialogue to resolve international disputes, including in its own reunification cause. How do you view China’s stance, and do you think China will be an important force in maintaining world peace?

Vucevic: China has experienced major changes in a relatively short period of time. Its achievements have attracted global attention.

Unlike other great powers, China does not attach any conditions to its cooperation with Serbia, and has selflessly dedicated its achievements in various fields to attaining global goals.

We consider China our traditional and long-term friend in these challenging times, but also one of the crucial factors contributing to global peace and stability, which it has been proven countless times with China’s peacetime policy and wise political moves.

GT: In the future, in which areas will the Serbian military deepen cooperation with the Chinese military?

Vucevic: I am glad to see that the last decade has seen an upward trend in military cooperation between Serbia and China. Friendly relations and mutual respect between the two Presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Xi Jinping, have greatly facilitated and accelerated cooperation in all areas, especially in the field of defense.

Our cooperation in almost all areas of mutual interest has achieved great results. Regarding the bilateral Serbia-China relations, I would single out military to military cooperation, as well as economic cooperation and numerous investments, which are very important for our country.

As for our relations and cooperation in the future, I am extremely optimistic and I have confidence in the tenacity of our friendship. China is our strategic partner and one of Serbia’s most reliable friends, so I am convinced that we will continue to develop our overall relations, especially in the fields of military-economic, military-medical, and military-educational cooperation.

文章来源于互联网: Exclusive: China-Serbia military cooperation supports Serbia’s defense modernization, empowers defense capabilities: Serbian Defense Minister

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