Chinese Premier arrives in Serbia, energy sector investments gate for chinese companies to Europe

27. May 2013. / News Serbia Energy

New Prime Minister of China Lee Keqiang could be on an official visit to Serbia this summer. If there is a visit, it is expected that, in addition to meetings at the highest political level, he will also visit the Chinese investments in our country, especially power plant “Kostolac”.

How medias finds out from sources close to the Chinese company CMEC, which performs modernization works of plant “Kostolac”, Premier of the People’s Republic of China Lee Keqiang could come in a several – day visit to Serbia in June.

This time frame, but also geographically, fits perfectly in the first foreign tour of Lee Keqiang.

In fact, on 19 May he began a visit to India, followed by Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany, where he should stay until 27 May. Although official confirmation that he will visit Serbia does not exist, it is clear that Keqiang along the way could come into Serbia after his stay in Germany, due to the fact that in this period he has no scheduled visit.

During his visit to Serbia, Chinese Prime Minister should also visit power plant “Kostolac” whose modernization is conducted with funds from the Chinese loan, which, if all goes according to plan, could amount about a billion dollars.

Confirmation of the visit we could not get in the Serbian state institutions, as well as in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After all, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia recently forwarded a statement on serbian language for  China Radio International, saying that the “top Chinese leaders have an open invitation to visit Serbia“, with the express hope that one of these visits, “will soon be realized.”

India is the first country that Lee Keqiang visited since he became Premier of the People’s Republic of China. When it is known that the new President of China Xi Jinping chose Russia for his first foreign visit, it is clear that the new leadership of China has decided to stronger connections with the East, especially countries that are economically fast-growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

Strengthening economic ties of China with these countries could certainly affect the tailoring world political scene, namely the position of the same. Therefore, the presidents of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping had an important part of their talks in Moscow about the economic situation, while in front of the press is primarily commented on the current political scene in the world.

Economic empowerment of the East, which has slowed down a bit last year, could greatly affect the security situation in the world. It is already clear, in the case of Syria, that the West is no longer strong enough to perform unilateral military action so desired, as it was the example with Libya or Iraq Therefore, It is not surprising that Jinping said in Moscow that the West “must respect the right of all countries to independently choose their development path” with a call to oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

Possible Lee Keqiang visit to Serbia would have more economic than political, and certainly not the security aspect. Although, China is strong in providing support to Serbia regarding Kosovo, it is never too entangled in this issue, but because of that in  the past few years it is more than present on  the economic sky of Serbia.

Besides, exactly China and Russia give the greatest support for infrastructure projects through loans in the last several years, which now amount to several billion dollars.

There are negotiations between CMEC’s (China National Machinery and Equipment Import & Export Corporation) and power plant “Kostolac” in connection with the construction of a new plant in Kostolac, whose value is 712 million dollars. Negotiations are in the final stages and their completion is expected as early in June, and the signing of the agreement would be an ideal opportunity for visit of the Chinese premier.

Negotiations currently, according to our source, entered the sixth phase, after which it is expected to sign the contract. Construction of the new plant “Kostolac” with funds from the Chinese loan could begin as early in September this year.

For now, with the funds from the Chinese loan, it is done a revitalization of block “B2” in the power plant “Kostolac B”, and by the end of next year should be completed a revitalization of block “B1”, and the construction of desulphurization system, but also  part of infrastructure – ports and line.

Our sources from the plant “Kostolac” point out that Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Jang Wanxue and one of the top officials of the company CMEC, vice president Wang Hong, recently visit this plant. This ad hoc visit, as pointed out from the plant “Kostolac”, was related to problems with building permits, which are solved.

Beside “Kostolac”, China is investing in other parts of the energy sector in Serbia. So, at the end of last year the Power Industry of Serbia signed an agreement with a Chinese consortium to build Block 3 at power plant “Nikola Tesla” near Belgrade, and that investment is estimated at more than two billion euros! In this chinese consortium are companies “China Environmental Energy” and “Shenzhen Energy Group”.

In the Chinese investment in Serbia we should certainly mention the Zemun-Borca bridge, which is funded at $ 150 million from the Chinese loan, and the contractor is Chinese CRBC (China Road and Bridge Corporation), with the inclusion of the Chinese company “Shandong Hi-Speed Group” in Corridor 11.

That company signed recently an agreement in Belgrade on the construction of the section Ljig – Preljina, worth $ 334 million and they are also interested in the construction of the Belgrade-Obrenovac.

And there should not be the end, due to the fact that China established the Fund for investment in Southeast Europe last year in september, which has 10 billion dollars. Coincidentally or not, the first beneficiary of the fund just has Serbia.

Lee Keqiang replaced Vienn Jiabao as Prime Minister of China. Jiabao never was in a visit to Serbia, but in the 2010th the Prime Minister of Serbia Mirko Cvetkovic hosted in the city of Dongguan.

It is expected from Lee Keqiang to further accelerate the economy of China, which is logical because he is a doctor of economic sciences who was solely responsible for the economic situation in the country during his vice presidential mandate.

Before taking position of a prime minister, in the rejuvenation of the state leadership of the world’s most populous country, he was vice president of China for five years.

Born on 1. July in 1955. year. Although he graduated in law at Beijing University, he later gained PhD in economics.

With 25 years Lee Keqiang became secretary of the Communist Youth League on Beijing University, and two years later he was elected to the top leadership of the Communist Youth League at the state level. In this body he has worked closely with Hu Jintao, former president of China, during whose mandate he held position of Vice President.

In June 1988. he became the youngest governor in the history of China, because  with 43 years he  came to  the head of Henan Province. Although, his reign in Henan celebrated three major fires and failure of containment of HIV infection, revitalize this province economically, so it is no surprise his transfer to the position of party leader in Liaoning, one of the most industrialized chinese provinces. Also in Liaoning he started several economic projects, which have proved to be a hit.

There is a lot of speculation about Keqiang participation in the political turmoil during the reign of Deng Xiaoping which ended with the bloody suppression of students demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989. year.

His wife Cheng Hong is a professor at the State University of Economics and Business in Beijing, whose father was also an influential politician in the Communist Youth League.


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