King's visit to boost partnership: Dutch FM

Updated: 2015-10-26 07:56

By Xinhua in The Hague(China Daily)

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The visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to China marks "the very good relationships which have greatly intensified", according to Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders. This is an "open and pragmatic relationship", Koenders said ahead of the Dutch royal couple's visit to China from Oct 25-29.

It is the first state visit of King Willem-Alexander to China since he ascended to the throne on April 30, 2013, when his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated. In March 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the Netherlands, "which was seen as highly successful", Koenders said.

Work together

The Netherlands' longstanding relationship with China continues. "We are very much aware of the enormous importance of China in the world," Koenders explained. "I believe in what is called 'the peaceful rise of China'. The country is growing economically and socially. I see the possibility of China and Europe working closely together."

Koenders cited China's Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the launching of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as inspiring ideas to meet the infrastructural needs in the region.

"It shows that the world is changing in terms of international institutions. It is important that we work together to face common challenges in the world, such as equality, climate change, infrastructure deficit, poverty alleviation and regional security," he said.

"We are living in a global world and we have to work on cooperation. I think that is feasible, partly within the institutions that we have in the world, like the United Nations, partly with adaptation toward new institutions, such as the initiatives that are taken in your region," he told the Chinese media during a tour organized by the Dutch government.

The Netherlands is one of the 57 prospective founding members of the AIIB. As for the Belt and Road Initiative, Koenders mentioned that there are a lot of shared benefits in terms of maritime logistics, port development and road building.

He pointed out that a Dutch national platform is being set up within his ministry to coordinate activities relative to the initiative.

The Dutch foreign minister, who has led UN peace missions in Cote d'Ivoire and Mali, also drew attention to China's "amazing" contributions to the UN peace-keeping cause. "I have had the pleasure to visit the peacekeeping center in China, just outside of Beijing. I have to say I have an enormous respect for Chinese peacekeepers," he said.

Economic cooperation

Koenders will accompany the Dutch royal couple on the visit to China, leading a parallel trade mission composed of about 250 representatives from about 150 Dutch companies. They are looking forward to tapping possibilities for more economic cooperation, especially in areas such as urban development, water management, sustainable energy, agriculture and food.

When asked about China's slowing economic growth, Koenders said the situation was a complex one, but he strongly believed that "China will have continuous sustainable growth levels, at a realistic level".

"I'm sure that also in China there are discussions about what comes from exports (and) what comes from domestic investment and consumption," he said. "Since you (China) are an enormously successful growing economy, you have lifted many people out of poverty, so that is an enormous possibility for exchange of contacts in trade and investment."

He said the Netherlands has been impressed with the levels of innovations that are taking place in China. He cited, as an example, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and its founder Jack Ma "who symbolizes Chinese innovation and development".

Many key players from showcase sectors will be part of the economic mission from the Netherlands. Leaders in agriculture, food and environment, such as Wageningen UR and GreenQ, a global service provider in the field of cultivation and production, will be included in the team.

More than 900 Dutch companies are already in China. There are about 500 Chinese businesses, many with their European headquarters, in the Netherlands, according to Koenders.

"I want to underline, from our side, the open and pragmatic partnership between our countries," he concluded. "We very much hope that we can maintain the momentum of the relationships."