Nation's vitality 'a chance for all'

Updated: 2014-04-02 09:10

By Tuo Yannan and Wu Jiao in Brussels (China Daily)

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Nation's vitality 'a chance for all'

President Xi Jinping and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo applaud during a meeting in Brussels on Monday. [Photo/Agencies]

Leaders of two countries promise to increase cooperation, friendship

Belgium wants to develop a balanced and fruitful relationship on all levels with China, said the country's Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo, in a written interview with Chinese media on Monday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping.

Throughout the meeting, the two countries pledged to deepen their all-around partnership of friendship and cooperation, raising their bilateral relationship to a new level to achieve greater development, said a joint statement released after the meeting.

Di Rupo said in the interview: "President Xi Jinping's three-day visit demonstrates the excellent relations between Belgium and China in many areas. We are convinced that the vitality of the Chinese society and economy is a chance for all of us."

"We are delighted to welcome for the first time the president in Brussels. China's reform program emphasizes improving the welfare and social security ... (and) could feed a controlled and inclusive growth," he commented. The fight against corruption will also contribute to creating a favorable climate for the Chinese people and for partners in China, Di Rupo added.

He said Belgium welcomes Chinese investors "because the success of China's development also depends on our prosperity here in Belgium and Europe."

To Belgium, China has become the largest investment destination, and the booming bilateral trade became the new highlight of the two countries' economic cooperation.

Belgium is China's sixth-largest trading partner among all the 28 EU member countries. China, as Belgium's second-largest trading partner outside the EU, has rapidly increased its investment in the country. Cumulative nonfinancial direct investment from China was $140 million in 2012.

Xi's visit to Belgium has brought about a bright future for Belgium-China cooperation, Di Rupo said. Belgium is willing to take the visit as a starting point for building a partnership of friendship and cooperation, he added.

Di Rupo said that since the beginning of diplomatic relations between Belgium and China in 1971, the two countries have strengthened their relationship considerably.

"I am personally very attached to our friendship and cooperation, and the president's visit is an opportunity to further deepen the relationship," he said.

According to Xi, the two countries should work together to promote cooperation in economy, science and technology, and people-to-people exchanges; expand mutual investment; push forward cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises; and strengthen cooperation in scientific and technological innovation, biological pharmacy, modern agriculture, and maritime and polar areas.

This year the two sides placed greater emphasis on people-to-people exchanges.

Additionally, in February, a pair of Chinese giant pandas arrived in Belgium as the friendship ambassador, the prime minister, went to the airport to welcome them.

"It is a great honor and proud moment for our country to be able to accommodate for 15 years the giant pandas Hao Hao and Xing Hui," he said. "On behalf of the Belgian government, I wish to thank the Chinese authorities for agreeing to share these national treasures with Belgium and all Belgians."

The prime minister also mentioned he hoped that in the near future, the family will grow and Belgians will have the opportunity to meet a baby panda.

Xi also proposed that China and Belgium increase the number of exchange students and facilitate the exchange of personnel.

China will establish a Chinese culture center in Brussels. China values its relations with Belgium and stands ready to work with the European country to build their all-around partnership of friendship and cooperation, and accelerate bilateral cooperation in all areas, said the Chinese leader.

On Monday evening, Belgian King Philippe offered a state banquet for Xi at the Royal Palace of Laeken.

At the banquet, Xi said, "We have deeply felt the friendship of the Belgian people toward the Chinese people through the kind hospitality of King Philippe and the Belgians."

The president said that during his visit, he has reached important consensus with King Philippe and Di Rupo on improving bilateral relations.

He called on the two sides to take the opportunity to develop their friendly and cooperative relations for the benefits of the two countries and their peoples, and positively contribute to the development of China-Europe ties.

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