Celebration surrounds Xi's arrival

Updated: 2014-03-23 01:13

By WU JIAO and FU JING in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (China Daily)

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The Netherlands pulls out all the stops for the Chinese leader's visit

Celebration surrounds Xi's arrival

President Xi Jinping and Dutch King Willem-Alexander review an honor guard upon the arrival of Xi and his delegation at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Saturday ahead of the March 24-25 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. [Photo/Agencies]

The Netherlands' welcome of Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit started well before his plane landed in Amsterdam at noon on Saturday.

Two Royal Netherlands Air Force fighter jets ascended to escort the Chinese aircraft when it entered Dutch airspace.

At the start of his visit, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were greeted by Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima at the Schiphol airport. The red carpet was rolled out to a 21-gun salute.

The royal couple also threw a grand welcome reception for their Chinese guests at the Amsterdam royal palace after meeting with the Xi and his wife in the afternoon.

"The Netherlands is China's important cooperation partner in Europe," Xi said in a statement delivered at the airport.

"I hope that my visit will help enhance political mutual trust between China and the Netherlands, expand practical cooperation and deepen the friendship between the two peoples."

It's Xi's first visit to Europe after taking the presidency over a year ago. It is also the first time that a Chinese president visits the Netherlands since the two countries established diplomatic ties over 40 years ago.

The two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreements on agriculture, energy, finance and culture during Xi's current visit.

The Chinese president said that the Netherlands, the gateway to Europe, has long been well connected with China by land, sea and air. It has become China's second largest trading partner among EU countries.

Both China and the Netherlands have actively advocated for and engaged in trade liberalization, and have cooperated closely in promoting China-EU relations, he added.

"I also hope to meet extensively with leaders of my host European countries and EU institutions during this European tour and have an in-depth exchange of views with them," Xi said.

"I am ready to work with the leaders of the EU and its member states to build on past achievements for a brighter future, deepen our cooperation and upgrade China-EU relations across the board, to the benefit of the people of both China and Europe."

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