China / Government

Netherlands' PM to meet with Xi

By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-26 07:40

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands said his country will actively respond to China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative to improve trade connections between Asia and Europe.

Rutte will embark on his second visit in two years to China this week to attend the Bo'ao Forum, saying his upcoming meeting with President Xi Jinping will focus on discussions of relations and ways to strengthen cooperation.

Netherlands' PM to meet with Xi

Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands

Xi visited the Netherlands in March last year.

"China's Silk Road initiatives are impressive and ambitious. They reflect confidence and its wish to invest in further connections with the region and the world, including the EU and the Netherlands," Rutte said ahead of his departure to China.

"We welcome this and will engage with China where this is to our mutual benefit."

The Netherlands is among several European countries that have moved to participate in the Silk Road initiative. More than 60 countries have shown interest in the strategy.

In September 2013, Xi made public the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative in Astana, Kazakhstan, and then unveiled the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative the following month in Indonesia. In addition, China will set up a Silk Road Fund with an initial investment of $10 billion to turn the concept into reality.

Rutte said the purpose of his visit is to enhance cooperation with China across the board.

"At my meeting with President Xi, we will discuss our current bilateral relations, as well as ways to step up our fruitful collaboration," he said.

For the trip, Rutte said he would bring Environment Minister Wilma Mansveld and leaders of about 70 companies, ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises to multinationals, all of them innovative pacesetters in their own sectors, in search of new markets.

Along with the business leaders, Rutte said he will visit companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, including Huawei and DJI Technology.

Rutte recalled that during Xi's state visit to the Netherlands last year, it was agreed that a partnership would further strengthen cooperation, and he said he is looking forward to fleshing that out.

He said the Netherlands and China both face challenges on global issues such as climate change, environmental pollution, food safety and urbanization. Additionally, both countries want to invest in sustainable energy and capitalize on biodiversity, Rutte said.

"The Netherlands has a lot to offer China in these areas, and good opportunities for collaboration in the future," Rutte said.

Rutte said he is pleased that Mansveld, the environmental minister, will be traveling with him, because of the need to strengthen ties with China on climate change and other issues.

He said Mansveld will meet her Chinese counterpart to discuss more cooperation on improving air quality. Dutch expertise in satellite monitoring of climate and air quality, for example, could provide substantial support to efforts in that field.

"This opens up prospects for better quality of life in both our countries and creates opportunities for Chinese and Dutch companies and research institutions," Rutte said.

Liu Jia contributed to this story.

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