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Dutch PM points way for ties with Beijing

Updated: 2014-03-20 09:07
By Fu Jing in The Hague, Netherlands ( China Daily)

Rutte praises peaceful use of nuclear materials and energy by China

High-tech, agriculture and water management are among the industries that offer great opportunities for cooperation between China and the Netherlands, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

China is an example of the peaceful use of nuclear materials and energy, Rutte said in an interview with China Daily ahead of the third Nuclear Security Summit, to be held in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday.

Dutch PM points way for ties with Beijing

He also said bilateral relations will "undoubtedly" grow stronger with President Xi Jinping's visit to the Netherlands. It is the first European country Xi will have visited since taking the presidency one year ago.

Rutte will meet Xi for the third time, following their meetings in Beijing in November and in Sochi, Russia, for the Winter Olympics opening ceremony last month.

Speaking at his historic office building in The Hague, Rutte said China's growth has brought positive changes to the world and the Netherlands "is very able and more than willing to join China on this historic journey".

"I am very much looking forward to working with President Xi to forge political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries," he said.

Rutte recalled his visit to Beijing, saying he had a "fantastic" dinner with Xi and discussed a wide range of issues.

"As a host, he was extremely warm. ... I found him very much on top of things and in charge. So he is really someone I can do business with. I forged a sound working relationship with him," said Rutte, who became prime minister in 2010.

He said his country wants to deepen high-tech cooperation with China, as the sector is growing fast in China and the Netherlands has plenty of expertise and knowledge of it.

Rutte said water management, agriculture and food are among the industries where the two countries have great potential for cooperation.

"Even in the 1990s, I was quite impressed by the growth of Chinese industries, particularly investment in agriculture," he said.

Encouraging Chinese companies to invest, the prime minister stressed his country's role as a gateway to Europe, citing Rotterdam's status as the biggest European port, along with foreign language skills and infrastructure advantages. Rutte said he will travel to China as soon as possible with a trade mission.

The Netherlands is China's second-biggest trading partner in the European Union.

About 1,000 Dutch companies operate in China, and more than 350 Chinese firms have set up shop in the Netherlands.

Rutte said Xi's participation in the Nuclear Security Summit will contribute to global peace. "I'm glad President Xi will attend the summit. His direct involvement makes it possible to achieve results," he said.

"Our goal is simple - to prevent nuclear terrorism and reach an effective agreement on vital issues."

Rutte said the summit aims to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear materials in the world and to improve security of these materials.

He said China has led the way in the peaceful use of nuclear materials and energy and is an example to many parts of the world, as it is drafting national nuclear security regulations.

Rutte said China has mapped out a comprehensive plan for future nuclear security activities and has achieved a sound security record on nuclear power operation, which other countries could emulate.

"I would suggest that China, as a big country which has a lot of knowledge of nuclear history, continue these activities, which are very much in line with the analysis process and very inspiring," Rutte said. "I believe other countries, and personally the Netherlands, could follow up."

Li Xiaofei in Brussels contributed to this story.


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