Montenegro gets 687.5 million euro loan from Chinese bank to build highway stretch to Serbia

Montenegro's government has signed a loan deal with a Chinese bank to build a stretch of highway to neighboring Serbia, the latest Chinese investment project in the Balkans.

The 687.5 million-euro ($867 million) loan, signed Thursday with China's Exim Bank, will finance the construction of the first 41-kilometer (24 miles) of the motorway from the Adriatic port of Bar to the Serbian border. The project aims to boost Montenegro's tourism and economic links with the rest of the Balkans.

China in recent years has stepped up investment in the Balkans, increasing its economic influence in the region.

Two Chinese companies will take part in the highway construction, while Montenegro has agreed to provide the remaining 121 million euro (152.6 million) of the estimated investment.