NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Serbia 25 years ago

BBC.com

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to European ally Serbia on Tuesday falls on a symbolic date: the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during NATO’s air war over Kosovo.
U.S. jets dropped five bombs on the Chinese Embassy compound in the Serbian capital on May 7, 1999, setting it ablaze and killing three Chinese nationals.
Xi referred to the bombing in an op-ed published in Serbia’s Politika newspaper on Tuesday, saying that “we must not forget that 25 years ago today, NATO brazenly bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia,” according to translations carried by Chinese state media.
“The Chinese people value peace but will never allow historical tragedies to happen again,” Xi added.
The U.S. at the time apologized and said the embassy bombing was a mistake that happened due to faulty intelligence.
In Belgrade, a huge Chinese flag was placed on a skyscraper along a roadway leading into the city from the airport.
Xi will arrive from France and will later travel to Hungary as part of his first European tour in five years.
He is expected to visit the site of the former embassy on the anniversary date and pay his respects to the bombing victims.

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The 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during NATO’s air war over Kosovo coincides with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Serbia, an ally in Europe.

U. S. On May 7, 1999, five bombs dropped by jets destroyed the Chinese Embassy compound in the capital of Serbia, killing three Chinese nationals and setting it on fire. The incident, which left twenty more people hurt, has hampered relations between the two powers ever since.

According to translations provided by Chinese official media, Xi made reference to the bombing in an opinion piece that was published in the Politika newspaper in Serbia on Tuesday. She stated that “we must not forget that 25 years ago today, NATO brazenly bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.”.

Xi continued, “The Chinese people cherish peace but will never permit past tragedies to occur again.”.

In order to put an end to Slobodan Milosevic’s vicious campaign against ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo, the Western military alliance launched an air war in March of that year.

The USA. s. acknowledged their error and said that poor intelligence led to the embassy bombing at the time. Washington claimed that the intended target was a Serbian state arms exporter’s headquarters a few blocks away on the same street.

“Consider that an American Embassy could be accidentally struck anywhere in the world. Prof. Sven Biscop of European foreign and security policy at the Egmont Institute and Ghent University stated that there would be an instantaneous response.

Thus, he continued, “it is also evident that this is a big thing for a country like China.”. And it hasn’t been forgotten, of course. “.

China’s irate demonstrators stormed the U. s. embassy buildings as the bombing stoked anti-American feelings and conjectured that the attack was deliberate rather than unintentional. There is still mistrust regarding the incident.

According to Biscop, “we will probably never really know either way.”. However, one thing is certain. Events such as that do occur in war, and I usually try to find the simplest explanation rather than try to come up with complex theories. “.

Although it is putting pressure on Beijing’s ties with the U. s. the bombing of the embassy strengthened ties between China and Serbia. China now ranks second in terms of trade with Serbia after the European Union and is the country’s main source of foreign direct investment.

Beijing opposed the NATO bombing campaign and has since supported Belgrade’s attempt to oppose the Western-backed drive for independence in the province of Kosovo, which was once part of Serbia. As a result, Serbia has remained a devoted ally of China and has welcomed billions of dollars in Chinese investment without any restrictions, all the while formally pursuing EU membership.

Xi wrote, “The friendship forged in blood between the peoples of China and Serbia has become the common memory of the two peoples and will inspire both sides to move forward together.”. We are prepared to collaborate with our Serbian friends in order to uphold our initial goals, move forward together, begin a fresh chapter in the country’s growth and revitalization, and create a China-Serbia community with a common future for all people in the coming era. “.

Pro-China sentiment was palpably evident in the lead-up to Xi’s visit on Tuesday and Wednesday. On a skyscraper next to a road that led from the airport into the city of Belgrade, a massive Chinese flag was erected. There were smaller Serbian and Chinese flags flying along a highway and in the downtown area.

As part of his first tour of Europe in five years, Xi will arrive from France and then head to Hungary.

On the anniversary, he is anticipated to pay his respects to the bombing victims at the location of the former embassy. The location where the embassy once stood is now home to a Chinese cultural center.

There are reportedly workshops, exhibitions, offices, residential space, a hotel, and a Confucius Institute within the expansive complex. It is regarded as a representation of China’s expanding sway over Serbia and all of Europe.

Last weekend, some Chinese tourists gathered close to the institute to pay their respects to the 1999 bombing victims by bowing before a plain black marble monument. “Honor Martyrs, Cherish Peace” is written on the monument in both Mandarin and English.

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