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China Focus: China, Netherlands seek stronger partnership as Dutch King visits
October 27,2015   By:Xinhua
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BEIJING, Oct.27,2015-- President Xi Jinping and visiting Dutch King Willem-Alexander agreed on Monday to boost cooperation in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
"China hopes to work with the Netherlands to build the AIIB into a win-win, professional, highly-efficient platform for infrastructure financing," Xi said during their talks at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing.
The Netherlands is one of the 57 prospective founding members of the AIIB, which has authorized capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to start operation at the end of this year.
King Willem-Alexander told Xi that his country is ready to join the Beijing-led AIIB, and supports the proposal to combine the Belt and Road Initiative with the Investment Plan for Europe.
The Belt and Road Initiative, which refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was unveiled by the Chinese president in 2013. It brings together countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, with the purpose of improving infrastructure, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges in those regions.
China and the Netherlands have achieved all-round interconnectivity, which offers a unique advantage for strengthening their Belt and Road cooperation, Xi said.
He urged both sides to maintain the sound momentum of cooperation in marine transportation, and cooperate more in areas such as trade, finance, railway, air transportation, agriculture and new energy.
"The Netherlands has advanced agriculture, shipbuilding and navigation industries, and strong innovation. There is huge potential to expand cooperation in these fields," said Cui Hongjian, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.
Xi and King Willem-Alexander also agreed to boost exchanges in the fields of coping with climate change, culture, education, sports and panda protection.
The Netherlands will take the European Union's rotating presidency in the first half of 2016. The King vowed that his country would champion closer trade and personnel exchanges between the EU and China during its presidency.
Both state leaders witnessed the signing of 15 cooperation agreements after their talks, ranging from finance, trade to aviation, technology and panda protection.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are visiting China from Oct. 25 to 29. It is the King's first state visit to China since he ascended the throne in April 2013. He is leading a huge trade delegation to China with 250 business people from 150 Dutch companies.
It is a reciprocal visit following Xi's state visit to the Netherlands in March 2014.
"The two countries had enjoyed pretty close trade links but relatively cool political ties in recent years. During President Xi's visit, they reached a consensus on an all-round cooperative partnership, and since then both sides have implemented the consensus to cooperation in various areas," Cui said.
According to Liu Haixing, director general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of European Affairs, two-way trade hit nearly 50 billion U.S. dollars in the first nine months of this year. Currently there are about 500 Chinese companies operating in the Netherlands, and 3,000 Dutch companies in China.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng also met with King Willem-Alexander on Monday.
Li called for stronger energy cooperation, and the joint exploration of third-party markets.
King Willem-Alexander told Li that the Netherlands is ready to cooperate with China in green development, agriculture and animal husbandry. He vowed to support the two countries' companies.
Yu said the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will maintain dialogue and exchanges with the Dutch States-General on issues including national governance, people's livelihood, democracy, innovation and environmental protection.