In Serbia, Xi Underlines Close Ties With Ally That Shares Wariness of U.S.

China and Serbia on Wednesday proclaimed an “ironclad friendship” during a visit to Belgrade by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, underlining the close political and economic ties between two countries that share a wariness of the United States.

Mr. Xi arrived in Serbia late Tuesday — the 25th anniversary of a mistaken 1999 airstrike involving the U.S. Air Force during the Kosovo war that destroyed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the Serbian capital. Three Chinese journalists were killed in the strike.

“This we should never forget,” Mr. Xi said in a statement published on Tuesday by Politika, a Serbian newspaper, recalling that “25 years ago today, NATO flagrantly bombed the Chinese Embassy.” He said that China’s friendship with Serbia had been “forged with the blood of our compatriots” and “will stay in the shared memory of the Chinese and Serbian peoples.”

Mr. Xi appeared briefly on Wednesday morning with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, before a cheering crowd gathered in front of the Palace of Serbia, the former headquarters of the now defunct government of Yugoslavia that now houses Serbian government offices.

In contrast to Mr. Xi’s last visit to Eastern and Central Europe in 2016, during which he faced noisy protests in the Czech Republic, he received a uniformly friendly reception in Belgrade, with the authorities mobilizing state workers to cheer him.

China is Serbia’s largest foreign investor and increasingly close economic relations have helped expand a relationship forged before the collapse of Yugoslavia, whose capital was Belgrade, in the early 1990s by shared wariness of Western and Soviet power.

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