State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang. [Photo/fmprc.gov.cn]
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang called on Tuesday for China and the Netherlands to jointly oppose decoupling, in order to avoid the risk of fragmented global trade and promote the recovery of the world economy.
The two countries have both benefited from and support economic globalization and free trade, Qin said at a joint news conference in Beijing with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra, who is on a two-day visit to China.
Hoekstra's trip, which began on Tuesday, follows a series of high-level exchanges between the two countries in recent weeks. Vice-President Han Zheng visited the Netherlands earlier this month, while Premier Li Qiang spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte last week, describing the Netherlands as China's "priority partner" in the European Union.
While meeting with the media, Qin expressed serious concerns over the European country's plan to ban semiconductor equipment maker ASML from exporting its products to China.
He also dismissed accusations that China is an economic "threat" to the Netherlands, asking why, if China actually was a threat, it has become the largest trading partner of the Netherlands outside the EU.
The Netherlands is China's second-largest trade partner in the EU, with bilateral trade volume reaching $130.2 billion in 2022.
The more complex the international situation becomes, countries like China and the Netherlands should remain united to safeguard the stability of global industrial and supply chains, which is conducive to world peace and stability, Qin said.
During the bilateral talks, the state councilor said that China hopes the Netherlands will play a role as a gateway in China-Europe cooperation and encourage the EU to focus on dialogue and cooperation in EU-China relations and jointly deal with global challenges.
China is committed to peaceful development and the strategy of mutually beneficial opening-up, Qin said. China brings opportunities and assurances to the world rather than challenges and risks, he added.
When commenting on the Ukraine crisis, Qin said that China understands the concerns of the Netherlands. He called on all parties involved to give serious thought to the historical and realistic reasons for the crisis and said China is committed to peaceful talks.
Hoekstra said the Netherlands is ready to work with China to uphold market principles, deepen cooperation in areas such as agriculture and innovation, expand people-to-people exchanges and further elevate bilateral cooperation.
The Netherlands supports strengthening EU-China dialogue and is committed to serving as a bridge to facilitate EU-China exchanges, he said.
Also on Tuesday, Qin met with Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying he hopes the IAEA will perform its duties with an objective, fair and professional attitude.
China hopes that the agency will resist practices that abuse national security as an excuse to interrupt and undermine the order of normal international cooperation, he said.
He said he also hopes that the IAEA will properly handle issues such as nuclear submarine cooperation among the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as Japan's discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, in order to maintain the agency's authority and credibility as well as international security.
Grossi said the IAEA is committed to nonproliferation and respects the decisions of member states.