Friendship and Cooperation Bring Better Life to Both China and Europe
On Le Soir of Belgium
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
I remember reading two stories. One is about a young Belgian who has since 2004 taught farmers in China’s southwest interior region to grow high-quality coffee to increase their income. The other one is about a Chinese doctor who came to Belgium in 1990 and has cured many patients.
From these two and many other stories, I can feel the strength of China-Europe friendship and cooperation. Such strength was first created by the Silk Road 2,000 years ago, which has bound peoples of different colors, languages and beliefs on the Eurasian continent in a common pursuit of better life, which is a shared desire of both Chinese and Europeans.
It is with such a desire that I am paying a state visit to Belgium and a visit to the EU headquarters.
China-Belgium relations have come a long way in the past 43 years since the forging of diplomatic relations. Bilateral trade has grown by more than 1,000 times, making Belgium China’s sixth largest trading partner in the EU. Mutual investment has grown in recent years. China’s direct investment in Belgium has grown nearly 10 folds over the past five years, creating many jobs locally. The successful Europalia China Art Festival and cultural activities marking the 40th anniversary of China-Belgium diplomatic relations have brought our two peoples closer.
Since establishment of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, two-way trade has quadrupled, reaching US$559.1 billion in 2013. Every year, 5.5 million mutual visits are made by Chinese and Europeans. The number of Chinese students in the EU and students from EU countries in China has exceeded 270,000. These figures show that China-Europe friendship and cooperation have provided our peoples a greater variety of goods, more jobs and better educational opportunities.
I hope that my visit will deepen the win-win relations between China and Europe so that our friendship and cooperation will deliver more benefits to the Chinese and European peoples.
Today, both China and Europe are at an important stage of development. A strategic decision was made at the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to comprehensively deepen China’s reforms, and over 330 implementing steps covering 15 sectors have been introduced or are in the works. The 1.3 billion Chinese people are endeavoring to realize the Chinese Dream of great national renewal. Europe is also on a path of reform and development. With massive structural reform introduced by the EU and strenuous efforts made by the European people, the spring of recovery is dispersing the winter chill in the European economy.
The new era presents new opportunities for China and Europe to boost their friendship and cooperation. China and Europe share common interests in pursuing development, and China will continue to view Europe as a strategic partner and support European integration. We believe that the European people will also support the Chinese people in pursuing a development model suited to China’s national conditions.