Europe

China's Xi visits steel mill in Serbia on trip to boost ties

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, right, walk past Serbian army Honor Guards during a welcoming ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, June 18, 2016. Xi arrived in Serbia for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation and assert China's intention to increase its presence in the Balkans and Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, right, walk past Serbian army Honor Guards during a welcoming ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, June 18, 2016. Xi arrived in Serbia for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation and assert China's intention to increase its presence in the Balkans and Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, walk past Serbian army Honor Guards in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, June 18, 2016. Xi arrived in Serbia for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation and assert China's intention to increase its presence in the Balkans and Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, walk past Serbian army Honor Guards in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, June 18, 2016. Xi arrived in Serbia for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation and assert China's intention to increase its presence in the Balkans and Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping walks past Serbian army Honor Guards in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, June 18, 2016. Xi arrived in Serbia for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation and assert China's intention to increase its presence in the Balkans and Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

    Chinese President Xi Jinping walks past Serbian army Honor Guards in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, June 18, 2016. Xi arrived in Serbia for a visit meant to boost relations with the friendly nation and assert China's intention to increase its presence in the Balkans and Europe. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)  (The Associated Press)

China's President Xi Jinping says his country's relations with Serbia should serve as an example to other nations in southeast Europe where the Asian power is seeking to boost ties.

Xi was touring the Zelezara Smederevo steel plant Sunday at the end of his three-day visit to Serbia, before leaving for Poland. He was cheered on by flag-waving workers at the plant, which was recently bought by a Chinese steel giant.

Xi's trip reflects China's efforts to increase its presence in the region and in Europe.

China and Serbia have signed a strategic partnership deal and 21 other agreements in trade, infrastructure and other fields.

China's Hebei Iron and Steel Group signed a 46 million euro ($52 million) deal in April to buy the loss-making plant from Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel.