THE HAGUE, March 23 (Xinhua) -- China and the Netherlands decided on Sunday to build a comprehensive partnership that stresses openness and pragmatism, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries.
The decision was made at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, during which the two leaders exchanged in-depth views on bilateral and China-EU relations, and reached important consensus in this regard.
Xi recalled the prime minister's visit to China last year, saying the two leaders then had in-depth and fruitful discussion.
In his proposals for the development of bilateral relations, Xi called for continued high-level exchanges, mutual respect and trust, as well as respect for each other's core interests and major concerns.
Both countries should pay more attention to the fundamental role of agriculture and water conservation in bilateral cooperation, with priorities in the fields of dairy, breeding, flood control, training, food security and technological research and development, said the Chinese leader.
China welcomes the Netherlands' efforts to increase dairy exports to China, Xi said.
China also hopes the Netherlands will take part in the establishment of the Shanghai free trade zone, he said, noting China has decided to build a Chinese culture center in the Netherlands.
Xi invited the Netherlands to participate in China's industrialization, urbanization, informationization, and agricultural modernization.
He called for fresh cooperation initiatives in the fields such as energy conservation and environmental protection, new energy, sustainable urban development and financial services.
During the meeting, Xi called on both sides to uphold the open and free trade system and jointly oppose protectionism, adding China hopes the Dutch side will provide further convenience for Chinese investments.
China also hopes the Dutch side will play a positive role within the European Union (EU) in pushing for an early conclusion of the negotiations on a China-EU investment agreement, the early launching of a joint feasibility study for a China-Europe free trade zone, and a proper settlement of the trade disputes over wireless communication products between China and the EU.
For his part, Rutte said Xi's visit to the Netherlands has brought bilateral relations to a higher level, which will help deepen cooperation between the two countries.
The Dutch side is willing to maintain close contact with the Chinese side, expand trade and investment, and enhance cooperation in the fields of scientific research, food security, social security, environmental protection and the service industry, said the Dutch leader.
The Netherlands will open a consulate general in the Chinese city of Chongqing, which will boost the exchanges and cooperation between the Netherlands and the central and western areas of China, Rutte said.
The Netherlands advocates free trade and will continue to work within the EU to push forward Europe-China cooperation, he said.
Rutte expressed his condolences over the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which mysteriously disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8, with 239 people, including 154 Chinese passengers, on board.
Xi said China will not give up on the search and rescue operation as long as there is a glimpse of hope.
The two leaders also exchanged views on the nuclear security issue and expressed their willingness to work with other parties for a successful Nuclear Security Summit, which will be held in the Hague on March 24-25.
The two leaders later witnessed the signing of a series of documents on bilateral cooperation in energy, agriculture, trade and culture.
After his meeting with the Dutch prime minister, Xi attended the opening ceremony of the Netherlands-China Trade and Economic Forum in Noordwijk, along with Dutch King Willem-Alexander.
In a speech at the ceremony, Xi hailed the achievements of pragmatic cooperation between China and the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has been China's second biggest trading partner in the EU for 11 years. There are nearly 400 Chinese enterprises and projects in the Netherlands.
Xi said promoting pragmatic cooperation between China and the Netherlands is not only beneficial to the development of the two countries, but also conducive to the stable recovery of the global economy.
The two counties should expand trade on high-tech products and services, and deepen bilateral cooperation in agriculture, energy conservation and city planning, he said.
China is willing to work together with the Dutch side to combat trade protectionism and properly handle the potential trade disputes that might emerge, so as to safeguard the healthy and steady development of China-Europe economic relations, said the Chinese leader.
China is also willing to work together with the Netherlands to make the bilateral relationship a leading example for China's relations with other European countries, Xi said.
"I believe as long as the two governments and our friends from the business circles in both countries keep a firm belief and seize the opportunities, the trade and economic cooperation between China and the Netherlands will make fresh achievements, serving the interests of the two countries and peoples in a better way," Xi said.
King Willem-Alexander said the Netherlands, admiring China's achievements and sharing the same view with China on the opportunities and challenges it faces, is willing to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with China and to make the two countries partners in seeking common prosperity.
Xi and Willem-Alexander also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation documents by enterprises from both countries.
Xi arrived in the Netherlands Saturday for a state visit, the first one ever made by a Chinese president to the western European country since the the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1972 .
The Netherlands is the first leg of Xi's European tour, which will also take him to France, Germany and Belgium.
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