China ready to deepen practical cooperation with Netherlands, make pie of mutual benefit bigger, says Qin Gang
Published: May 23, 2023 10:28 PM
China Netherlands Photo: VCG

China Netherlands Photo: VCG

China is ready to deepen practical cooperation with the Netherlands, provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for each other's companies and make the pie of mutual benefit bigger, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang briefed the press after talks with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Tuesday in Beijing.

Hoekstra kicked off his visit to China on Tuesday in a two-day trip which Chinese experts believe is significant for the China-Netherlands relationship and will help maintain bilateral communication and a stable long-term relationship.

Qin stressed that China and the Netherlands can meet each other halfway on three levels. 

At the bilateral level, China is speeding up the building of a new development pattern and advancing opening-up at a high level. China is ready to deepen practical cooperation with the Netherlands, provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for each other's companies and make the pie of mutual benefit bigger, according to Qin.

At the China-EU level, the Netherlands is the "gateway" for China-EU cooperation, Qin said. China and the Netherlands should focus on the positive agenda of China-EU relations and push for a comprehensive resumption of bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields. China is committed to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening-up. China exports opportunities rather than crises and brings insurance rather than risks. The source of global risks is to engage in camp confrontation and artificially cut off the supply chain, Qin said.

At the multilateral level, China is ready to strengthen communication and coordination with the Netherlands to jointly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, according to Qin.

Hoekstra said during a parliamentary debate earlier that he would raise "easy and difficult subjects" during his visit, Reuters reported. 

The main purpose of Hoekstra's visit is to stabilize bilateral relations between China and the Netherlands, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday. Neither side wants to see relations stagnate, and maintaining exchanges is the main goal, Cui believes.

The expert noted that although there have been some incidents affecting the bilateral relationship in recent times, as the US has been pressuring the Netherlands to crack down on China's chip industry, a deterioration in relations with China is clearly something the Netherlands does not want.

Observers point out that sanctions against China are clearly not in the interests of the Netherlands and its domestic companies when it comes to chip manufacturing, as China's market is so huge that giving up cooperation with China would bring a huge loss of interest.

A Dutch expert also warned that a strict ban on China will cost the Netherlands "dearly in science," the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday. 

The Netherlands' international position in technology and innovation will be seriously damaged by "cutting our scientific links with China on a large scale," said Ingrid D'Hooghe, coordinator and senior researcher at the Clingendael China Center, a Dutch think tank, in an article published on the think tank's website. "In addition, it will further restrict our understanding of developments in China, which is a key economic, political and scientific player that we cannot ignore," she said.

Cui pointed out that it is clear from recent statements that the Netherlands does not want to succumb to US pressure or adopt exactly what the US wants, but wants to find its own space and position in the competition between the two powers.

He expects that the two sides will look at the long-term and overall relationship during the visit, not only at issues in the chip sector.

Diplomatic exchanges between China and the Netherlands have been frequent. Earlier this month, Chinese Vice President Han Zheng paid a three-day visit to the Netherlands from May 10 to 12, during which Han and leaders of the Netherlands agreed to jointly tackle climate change and strengthen green and low carbon cooperation. 

Han said that China is willing to communicate extensively with the Netherlands, consolidate mutual trust and jointly explore the direction of cooperation under the new situation, so as to promote the healthy development of China-Netherlands relations, and jointly promote world peace, security and prosperity. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also noted that China is an important trading partner of the Netherlands.

In a phone call with Rutte on May 16, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said that China regards the Netherlands as a priority partner of cooperation within the European Union, and is ready to work with the Netherlands to promote cooperation in various fields to achieve new results, to which Rutte responded that China is an important cooperative partner of the Netherlands.

Observers noted that the Dutch official's visit to China comes amid very frequent diplomatic interactions between China and Europe in recent months.

"The Netherlands is a developed country in Western Europe and a core country in the EU, and has its own influence in the EU," Cui said. "Judging from the Netherlands' foreign policy in recent years, it also wants to show its own characteristics and influence in the EU's strategic regime."

European countries, including the Netherlands, want to show their interests in international diplomacy, but at the same time they are going through a process of redefining their interests, the expert noted.

In this process, it is necessary to strengthen communication and exchanges with China, Cui said, noting that this will help European countries adjust their perceptions and policy positioning.

Separately, Qin noted that China understands the concerns of the Netherlands and other European countries on the Ukraine crisis and has always been committed to promoting peace talks. The special representative of the Chinese government on Eurasian affairs is currently visiting Europe to have in-depth communication with the EU side on the political settlement of the crisis. It is hoped that all parties involved in the crisis will remain objective and calm and make joint efforts to end the war and restore peace as soon as possible, Qin said.