Xi, Belgian PM meet in Beijing, agreeing to enhance ties

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Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander De Croo in Beijing on Friday.

Noting that China attaches great importance to the development of China-Belgium relations, Xi said bilateral cooperation has yielded fruitful results and benefited the two peoples since the establishment of diplomatic ties 53 years ago.

China and Belgium are both beneficiaries of economic globalization and share common interests in resisting protectionism and safeguarding free trade, Xi said.

China appreciates De Croo’s open opposition to the decoupling or severing of industrial and supply chains on many occasions, welcomes Belgian companies to invest in China, and stands ready to provide them with a sound business environment, Xi said, expressing his hope that Belgium will also provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.

Xi said the two sides can combine their respective strengths to expand cooperation in traditional areas such as transportation, logistics and biopharmaceuticals, and explore new growth areas for cooperation such as green development and digital economy.

He called on the two sides to encourage government departments, legislatures, and sub-national areas to strengthen exchanges and dialogue, expand tourism and exchange of students, organize large-scale cultural activities in each other’s country, and carry out research on giant panda protection.

Xi said China is willing to strengthen communication with Belgium within multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations and carry out cooperation on issues such as climate change and biodiversity protection.

Stressing that China maintains long-term consistency in its policy toward Europe, Xi said China has always regarded Europe as a partner and hopes that Europe will play a positive and constructive role as an important force in a multipolar world.

In the face of the changing and volatile international situation, China and Europe need to build more “bridges,” he added.

Xi said the two sides should work more closely to promote an equal and orderly global multipolarity and an economic globalization that benefits all, and jointly promote world peace, stability and prosperity.

China is willing to work with the European Union (EU) to foster progress in China-EU relations in the new year and hopes that Belgium, as the EU rotating presidency, will play a positive role in this regard, Xi added.

De Croo said the Belgium-China relationship is a pacesetter in European countries’ ties with China in many aspects, noting that Belgium will continue to abide by the one-China policy, and have candid dialogue with China to deepen understanding and push for continuous development of bilateral relations in political, economic and other fields.

De Croo said Belgium opposes decoupling or severing of industrial and supply chains, welcomes Chinese enterprises to carry out cooperation in Belgium, and hopes to strengthen personnel and cultural exchanges with China.

De Croo noted that he was deeply impressed by President Xi’s vivid description of “bridges” during his visit to Belgium a decade ago.

Amid the changing and turbulent international situation, the world needs China and Europe to work as partners and strengthen cooperation in a wide range of areas such as promoting world economic growth, addressing climate change and building a more stable world, De Croo said.

Belgium, as the rotating presidency of the EU, is willing to play an active role in the development of EU-China relations and hopes that this visit will help elevate Belgium-China and EU-China relations, he added.

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