China’s President Xi Jinping last week helped to lay the cornerstone of a new Chinese cultural centre in Serbia, on the site of China’s embassy that was bombed by US planes in 1999.
Xi and Serbian President Tomislav NikoliÄ‡ joined in the ceremony Serbia’s capital Belgrade on 17 June, the first day of Xi Jinping’s visit to the country, with the Chinese delegation highlighting the importance of Serbia in China’s "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
Cooperation has a very important place on the New Silk Road – also known as One Belt, One Road – and transcends space and the limitations of time– Luo Shugang, Chinese Culture Minister
US planes bombed the embassy on 7 May 1999, during the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia, killing three Chinese journalists and injuring others.
The US maintained it was an accident but the event caused extreme tension between the US and China, which called the bombing a "barbarian act".
The US would later pay $4.5m to the victims’ families and $28m to China for damages.
According to news portal bne Intellinews President Xi’s visit to Belgrade started by paying tribute to the victims.
Chinese Culture Minister Luo Shugang said the cultural centre would be open to Serbian citizens and would contribute to deepening the friendship between the two countries.
"Cooperation has a very important place on the New Silk Road – also known as One Belt, One Road – and transcends space and the limitations of time," Luo Shugang said.
"By laying the cornerstone, the two countries are building another bridge of friendship," Serbian Culture Minister Ivan Tasovac said.
Image: The Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, 10 years after bombing by US military aircraft (Stuinzuri/Wikimedia Commons)