BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia’s police will get reinforcements from China to cope with a growing number of Chinese tourists and workers, the Serbian interior minister said on Friday.
China includes Serbia and other Balkan countries in its One Belt, One Road plan to open trade links for Chinese companies. It has invested billions in loans to build railways, roads and power plants, mainly with Chinese workers.
Thousands of Chinese tourists are also visiting Belgrade and other Serbian cities.
Nebojsa Stefanovic, the Serbian interior minister, told reporters Belgrade and Beijing have agreed about joint police patrols which may start in October.
“Policemen (from China) … will be helping Serbian police officers in communicating with Chinese nationals and also with their communication with Serbia’s state bodies,” Stefanovic said.
Serbia and the Chinese electronics company Huawei have already begun a project called Safe City, which envisions mounting hundreds of surveillance cameras in the Serbian capital and the development of facial-recognition software.
Since 2014, European Union countries including Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria have been rotating groups of police officers at Serbia’s borders to help stem the flow of migrants.
Serbian policemen are also deployed on the border between North Macedonia and Greece and in neighbouring Montenegro during the summer holidays season. Turkish colleagues are helping out at Serbian boundary crossings.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; editing by Larry King)