Serbia plans to buy modern Chinese missiles despite US warning

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Serbia is considering purchasing a modern Chinese air defense missile system, the Serbian president said on Tuesday, as the United States warned that such deals with Beijing could jeopardize the stated goals of EU membership. from the Balkan country.

Aleksandar Vucic said that we are thinking, but we have not yet purchased the FK-3 system, the export version of China’s latest generation medium-range anti-aircraft system HQ-22.

Serbia, which has reinforced its army mainly with Russian planes and armored vehicles, received six Chinese CH-92A attack and reconnaissance drones last month. This made Serbia the first European country to deploy Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles.

The United States Embassy in Belgrade has declared that the purchase of military and defense equipment is a sovereign decision. However, governments need to understand the short and long term risks and costs of doing business with Chinese companies.

Sourcing choices should reflect Serbia’s stated political goal of greater European integration, according to an embassy statement.

Alternative suppliers who are not subject to authoritarian regimes offer equipment that is both capable of meeting Serbia’s defense needs and comparable in quality and cost.

Reacting to the statement, Vucic said: Whenever we decide to buy something, someone has something against it. He claimed that the FK-3 anti-aircraft system is not on the US sanctions list against China and that the purchase depends on the financial terms of the deal.

We will make the decision as a free and sovereign country, Vucic said.

The Russian and Chinese armaments of Serbia, as well as their growing political and economic influence in the Balkan state, are observed with unease in the West and among Serbia’s neighbors.

Tensions are mounting in the Balkans, which went through a devastating civil war in the 1990s. NATO intervened in Serbia to stop a bloody Serbian crackdown on Kosovo Albanian separatists in 1999.

Serbia, which officially wishes to join the EU, declared its military neutrality in 2006 and joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace outreach program. Its populist leadership is against joining the Western military alliance although most of Serbia’s neighbors are in NATO.

Asked about Serbia’s latest armament with the modern Chinese air defense system, a NATO official who spoke on the usual condition of anonymity said acquiring the defense is a national decision.

Serbia has the right to freely choose its political and security arrangements. NATO and Serbia are close partners and we are committed to strengthening our partnership with Serbia, while fully respecting its policy of neutrality, the official said.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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