China, Netherlands to enhance ties, cooperation

China and the Netherlands should take the opportunity of 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties to boost bilateral relations and cooperation, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday.

Wang made the remarks during a phone conversation with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra, during which he also congratulated Hoekstra on assuming the new post.

Calling the Netherlands China’s important partner in Europe, Wang said China attaches great importance to developing relations with the country.

The two heads of state jointly defined the positioning of an open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, which fully reflects the characteristics of bilateral ties and future development goals, he added.

Noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, Wang said that the two sides should take this opportunity to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, draw on successful experience in bilateral cooperation and make plans for future development, so as to contribute more to the development of both countries, as well as to world peace and stability.

Bilateral trade volume and two-way investment both increased against the odds last year, he said, noting that the Netherlands, following Germany, has become China’s second trade partner in Europe with bilateral trade surpassing 100 billion U.S. dollars. That fully reflects the great potential of cooperation between the two countries, Wang added.

China and the Netherlands should continue to deepen cooperation with an attitude of openness and a spirit of pragmatism, Wang said, adding China supports the establishment of a China-Netherlands business council and welcomes the Dutch side to organize “cloud visits” to China for its trade and economic delegations.

The senior Chinese official also noted that the two sides should deepen international cooperation in such areas as climate change, adding that China hopes the Netherlands will actively support and participate in the China-proposed Global Development Initiative and the Global Initiative on Data Security, so as to jointly promote global sustainable development.

He stressed the Netherlands is a founding and core member of the European Union (EU), adding that as two independent major forces in the world, China and the EU share extensive common interests.

China and the EU should stick to the positioning of comprehensive strategic partners, keep dialogue and cooperation as the mainstay, and ensure that China-EU relations are always on the right track of healthy and stable development, Wang said, adding China hopes the Dutch side will play an active and positive role in injecting more stability and vitality into China-EU relations.

Noting that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China has fulfilled its commitment to open the Beijing Winter Olympics as scheduled, Wang said that he hopes and believes this Winter Olympics would bring more confidence and hope to people of all countries and encourage the international community to practice the Olympic spirit of solidarity and jointly tackle various global challenges.

He added that China congratulates the Netherlands, which has sent the largest winter Olympic delegation in its history, on its excellent performance so far, and wishes the Dutch delegation more success in the coming games.

For his part, Hoekstra congratulated China’s successful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics, praised the wonderful opening ceremony and excellent organization of the Winter Olympics.

He hopes that the spirit of solidarity shown in sports could be passed onto politics and promote international cooperation.

The Netherlands, he said, attaches great importance to the new opportunities brought by the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and is ready to strengthen bilateral exchanges at all levels, deepen cooperation in economy, trade, science and technology, sports and international affairs, and continuously expand the depth and breadth of bilateral ties.

The Netherlands supports the EU and China to strengthen dialogue and exchanges, properly handle differences and jointly tackle global challenges such as COVID-19 and climate change, Hoekstra said.

The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.


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