Article by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
On 22 March, I arrived in the Netherlands to begin my first visit to Europe as President of the People’s Republic of China. The visit will take me to four European countries as well as the headquarters of the European Union and a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Europe is an important pole in a multi-polar world and China’s comprehensive strategic partner. China has all along viewed its relationship with Europe from a strategic perspective and takes Europe as a priority in its diplomacy. My visit to Europe is intended to increase mutual trust, deepen cooperation, build on past achievements and pursue new progress with our European partners and comprehensively raise the level of China-Europe relations. The Netherlands is a main gateway to Europe and the first stop of my European trip. Here, I wish to extend sincere greetings and best wishes to all people in Europe on behalf of the people of China.
– I am traveling to Europe to promote peace. As an old Chinese adage goes, “Opportune time is not as helpful as a favorable geographical position, whereas a favorable geographical position is not as important as a harmonious relationship.” The world needs development and development requires peace. The Chinese people, like people of other countries in the world, need a peaceful international environment to develop their country. They also stand ready to safeguard and promote world peace and development through China’s own development.
The Hague Nuclear Security Summit has a historic mission to draw a blueprint for the future of the nuclear security process. The safety and security of nuclear materials and facilities as well as effective response to threat of nuclear terrorism matter not only to the security and stability of all countries but also to sustainable development of mankind. I look forward to sharing experience and ideas with leaders of other countries and relevant international organizations, discussing with them ways to advance international nuclear security and formulating a sound future plan for the nuclear security process in a bid to contribute to world peace.
– I am traveling to Europe to promote cooperation. China and Europe enjoy one of the largest and most dynamic economic and trade relationships in the world. The EU is China’s top trading partner and China the EU’ second largest. They are the most important markets for each other with enormous potential and broad prospects for cooperation. Moreover, cooperation between China as the world’s largest developing country and the EU as the biggest grouping of developed countries in the world, extends far beyond the bilateral scope and takes on global significance. Stronger China-EU cooperation will contribute not only to their respective development, but also to world peace, stability and prosperity.
During the visit, I will have in-depth exchange of views with leaders of relevant countries and EU institutions on deepening China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and expanding practical cooperation under new circumstances. I hope the two sides will identify areas where our development strategies could dovetail so as to deepen China-EU cooperation and jointly promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy.
– I am traveling to Europe to promote experience sharing. China is comprehensively deepening reform, pursuing sustained and sound economic and social development and improving the standards and quality of people’s lives. The EU has gained useful experience in tackling the sovereign debt issue and advancing European integration. China hopes to share experience with Europe so that both would benefit and succeed in their reform and development endeavors. We also hope to maintain close communication and coordination with Europe and work together for a rule-based and more transparent, fair, reasonable and effective international governance system.
– I am traveling to Europe to promote mutual-learning between civilizations. People-to-people exchange is a positive factor for peace and development and an important driving force behind economic growth. China and Europe, representing the Eastern and Western civilizations, have both made indelible contribution to human progress. Our combined population and economy respectively account for one fourth and one third of the world’s total. Expanded people-to-people exchange is critical to increasing mutual understanding and social prosperity. I will exchange views with European leaders on deepening China-Europe cultural cooperation and facilitating people-to-people exchanges, so as to strengthen friendship among the people, promote mutual learning between the Eastern and Western civilizations, and facilitate thriving progress of human civilization.
The Netherlands is China’s important partner in Europe. The direct links of railway, cargo liners and commercial flights between China and the Netherlands have given us a distinct advantage in all-dimensional connectivity. Our cooperation, which is wide in area, large in scale and driven by strong internal forces and is well known for its high efficiency and practical results, serves as a fine example in China-Europe cooperation. The Netherlands has been China’s second largest trading partner in the EU for 11 consecutive years and third largest source of direct investment for China in the EU, while China is the biggest trading partner and second largest source of investment of the Netherlands outside the EU. Our cooperation in agriculture, water conservancy, petrochemical, logistics and other fields sets the pace for cooperation between China and Europe. The Netherlands is among those European countries that are most open to cooperation with China. Both sides support trade liberalization and both are committed to an open and transparent environment for fair and orderly market competition.
My visit to the Netherlands is the first by a Chinese head of state. During the visit, I have discussed with Dutch leaders on how to promote cooperation and had extensive contact with people from various sectors. Together, we have charted the future course of our relations, enriched practical cooperation and elevated the bilateral relationship to a new and higher level. We have decided to build an open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation. The two sides have issued a Joint Statement and signed a host of documents on cooperation in energy, agriculture, financial, investment, cultural and other fields.
China is now striving to achieve its two “centenary goals”, namely, to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects when the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious when the People’s Republic of China marks its centennial in 2049. The EU, on its part, is stepping up efforts to implement the Europe 2020 strategy. For the Chinese people, to make the country stronger and more prosperous, the society fairer and more just, and make sure that the people lead a better life is the ideal they have always pursued. I believe the same is true for the European people. We stand ready to work with European countries to deepen win-win cooperation, share opportunities and create greater prosperity.
When winter is over and spring arrives, everything takes on a new look, as time never stops moving forward. Beijing and Amsterdam are some 8,000 kilometers away from each other. Yet the distance, however long it might be, could not stop China and the Netherlands from forging closer ties and expanding cooperation. Nor will it ever block the passion for exchanges and friendship cherished by our peoples.
I have great expectations for my up-coming visit to Europe. I am confident that 2014 will surely usher the China-Europe relations into a new period of great vigor and dynamism.