Prosperity poised to blossom

Updated: 2014-03-24 12:17

By Wu Jiao and Fu Jing in The Hague (China Daily USA)

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Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is in the Netherlands for a state visit and the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday, met with his counterpart of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Park Geun-hye on Sunday.

The meeting followed Xi's separate meeings with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Finnish President Sauli.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Sunday that he believes China will play an important role at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague.

Rutte noted he had held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier on Sunday.

"I believe he will play an important role during the summit. Why? Because China is a powerful player, an increasingly important factor at the world stage," he said.

"Secondly, China has a big industrial nuclear sector. They spend a lot of money on research," Rutte said.

"In addition, the Chinese president made clear he is personally aware of the dangers of nuclear material falling into the wrong hands. He is highly committed to making this conference a success," Rutte said.

A newly cultivated variety of tulip was named "Cathay" in the Netherlands on Sunday by Peng Liyuan, who is visiting the country with her husband President Xi Jinping.

After Peng poured champagne to bless the tulip, Dutch Queen Maxima offered it as a gift to China's first lady. Cathay is the old name of China in Holland, and is translated as guotai, meaning "prosperous country".

And prosperity is exactly what leaders of both countries are hoping for.

The countries decided on Sunday to build a partnership that stresses openness and pragmatism, according to a statement issued after Xi's meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Xi said the Netherlands was one of the first Western countries to recognize New China and their cooperation has been at the forefront of China's cooperation with European countries.

The open and pragmatic partnership will contribute to the development of relations between China and Europe, Xi said.

He proposed that the countries maintain high-level exchanges and respect each others' core interests and major concerns, while emphasizing cooperation in areas including dairy, flood control, training of talent, food safety, and technological research and development.

"China welcomes the Netherlands expanding dairy exports," Xi said, adding the country embraces Dutch businesses seizing opportunities in a broad spectrum of areas in China.

They include energy-saving and environmental protection, new energy, urban sustainable development and financial services.

Xi said he hoped the Netherlands will facilitate China's investment and play a part in pushing the earlier completion of a Sino-Europe investment pact.

Rutte said his country will promote Sino-European collaboration within the EU, and said the Netherlands hopes to expand bilateral trade and two-way investment.

In addition, the Netherlands will open a consulate in Chongqing in Southwest China, he said.

On Sunday, Xi and Rutte witnessed the signing of several trade agreements, including cooperation in energy and dairy, and the launching of a Chinese cultural center in the Netherlands.

Xi also attended the opening ceremony of a trade and investment forum with Dutch King Willem-Alexander.

The king said the Netherlands admired China's feats and acknowledged the opportunities and challenges it faced in its development.

The king said he hoped the countries will expand mutually beneficial cooperation and become partners for common prosperity.

The dairy trade pact is expected to bring Dutch expertise to help Chinese producers boost the quality and quantity of their milk, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.

Nancy McKinstry, CEO of Wolters Kluwer in the Netherlands, a global information services company, said it is encouraging to see China continuing to stimulate investment and hiring in the services industry, such as healthcare.

"We are seeing that over the past years spending on healthcare in China has grown considerably, and we see growth in the Chinese healthcare segment as an important part of our company's business strategy," said McKinstry.

The Netherlands has been China's second-biggest trading partner in the European Union for 11 years. It is also China's third-largest source of foreign direct investment in the EU.

Meanwhile, China is the biggest trading partner and second largest source of investment for the Netherlands outside the EU.

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 Prosperity poised to blossom

China's President Xi Jinping (left) and Dutch King Willem-Alexander (right) propose a toast during the official state banquet at the royal palace in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Saturday. Xi is on a two-day state visit ahead of the March 24 and 25 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. Toussaint Kluiters / AP

(China Daily USA 03/24/2014 page1)