BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia has praised China for boosting the Balkan nation's military with drones and other equipment amid Western fears that the arms buildup could threaten fragile peace in the region.

A Defense Ministry statement issued Tuesday after a visit by a high-ranking Chinese military delegation praised Beijing for economic and military support.

Serbian officials say China has agreed the sale of armed drones, marking the first export of Chinese remotely piloted aircraft to a European country.

Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin says the delivery expected in the coming months "will greatly strengthen the Serbian military, which will gain capabilities it has not had in the past."

Serbia was at war with its neighbors in the 1990s. It has already been boosting its armed forces with Russian equipment.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recommended for you