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November 1, 2023

Address of the member of the National Council Ambassador Ivan Mrkić at the Symposium on the China-CEEC Cooperation held in Beijing on 1 November 2023

 Address of the member of the National Council Ambassador Ivan Mrkić at the Symposium on the China-CEEC Cooperation held in Beijing on 1 November 2023

Dear President,
Esteemed guests,
Dear friends,

The topic of our meeting is cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries and China in the light of today’s developing global circumstances. In all likelihood, this topic could in fact address the entirety of international cooperation. One thing is for sure: we all need international cooperation if we wish to avoid wars. Nevertheless, men have always waged wars thinking that they are necessary and that it is only by means of war that goals and changes can be effected. This is wrong, however. It was impossible in the past, let alone today, when it is barely thinkable. Especially when we are aware of the existence of lethal nuclear weapons. Therefore, anyone rational would solely foster cooperation, which primarily implies trade and exchange, among other things.

Today’s world is inconceivable without the development of cooperation. Those who fight wars are not wise and they cannot serve as role models to anyone. A strictly defensive was is the only type of war that is justifiable to this day. Truth be told, many countries have broad interpretation of defence, but the sense of fairness is nevertheless omnipresent and felt by the vast majority of today’s global population. We all strive to justice. In my view, justice can solely be achieved by dint of cooperation and not by exclusion of any kind.

The modern-day world can attain welfare if it proceeds with a keen perception of itself as a global village. The same applies to the relationship between China and countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The supercontinent of Eurasia is home to China, Russia, the European Union and many others alike. In my opinion, it is solely through cooperation that a stable and steady development can occur at both individual and collective levels.

This is why I believe that Eurasia should act as a whole to ensure, inter alia, Asia’s cooperation with the European Union and the world at large.

Divisions will take us nowhere. We know what it was like during the bloc confrontation, the explanation of which could be traced back to ideology. This era is bygone and the world will hopefully never divide again. Our future lies in global cooperation. This is one of the reasons why we support the idea proposed by China’s President Xi Jinping, whose visionary projects are hinged on it.

China and Serbia have fostered collaboration for a long time. The fact is certainly not a function of our position in Europe and our strategic commitment, but of a deeply rooted logic embraced and wholeheartedly shared by the people of Serbia. We have proven this course on innumerable occasions, the latest one being Serbia’s attendance, at the highest level, at the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held right here in Beijing on the occasion of the Belt and Road’s tenth anniversary. Any well-meaning person accepts this way of thinking and acting. President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić has recently paid a visit to Beijing with a delegation composed of many Ministers, some of whom are Deputy Prime Ministers in the Serbian Government. We have signed almost 20 agreements, of course not as many per year as the leading EU Member States on the occasion of their representatives’ visits, but what matters is the intention and type of conduct.

Dear President and distinguished guests,

It is clear from the above that we hail the creation of a multipolar world. Each country, the smallest as well as the largest, should be taken care of. Should we fail to follow this philosophy, we will be met with growing problems. The genuine and basic democracy simply calls for the respect of all and everyone. We must bear this in mind. The sense of entitlement will take us nowhere. I support the Charter of the United Nations, its essence and all the international aspirations aimed at reflecting and implementing human progress.

We welcome the high-level contacts between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. We hope that similar contacts between Russia and the US will take place in the nearest future. We support the fact that many high-ranking US delegates have visited Beijing and we are looking forward to the meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Joseph Biden later this year. As ever, all revolves around negotiations, and not war. No one should be on the losing side, as is the case with Ukraine, Gaza and Israel. Conflicts only leave mostly innocent victims in their wake. Therefore, we insist upon cooperation and negotiations.

One of the ways to promote cooperation is to continually connect the market of China with those of the CEE countries, which is the topic of this meeting. Allow me to briefly address the data testifying to what I have said so far. Trade exchange between the US and China is rising day by day and is measured by hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite the fact that one side has portrayed the Chinese as a serious competitor that should be tamed. China has assumed the leadership and firmly ranks first when it comes to cooperation and trade exchange with the European Union. The enormous Chinese market simply urges everyone to listen to reason. Under no circumstances must we forget that under the leadership of the Communist Party, the life satisfaction of Chinese citizens is growing, as well as their personal income. Does that not guarantee the placement of many products on the market of China? We must all take this fact into account and act accordingly. It is commendable that the Chinese side neither conditions nor influences other countries when they set priorities of their economic undertakings. We are confident that this will remain unchanged.