BRUSSELS, March 30 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Sunday that he intended to promote China's relations with Belgium and Europe at large through his visit.
Xi, who is on a state visit to Belgium, made the remarks while meeting with Belgian King Philippe.
The Chinese leader noted that the two sides have seen sound development of bilateral ties, saying he appreciated the positive role the Belgian royal family has been playing in achieving that.
Xi noted the European Union (EU) is headquartered in Belgium, a country that is the heart of Europe and China's key partner within the EU, adding that it is his first visit to Belgium and the EU headquarters since he assumed Chinese presidency in March 2013.
"I hope that through my visit this time China-Belgium relations and China-Europe ties can be further promoted," he said.
For his part, King Philippe said his country feels honored to host Xi,as the Chinese leader was the first foreign head of state who pays a state visit to Belgium after he succeeded to the throne.
The King also mentioned that he has read Xi's signed article published on the Belgian paper Le Soir, and has felt that the Chinese president is paying great attention to Belgium and the EU.
He promised that the Belgian royal family and government will, as always, follow a friendly China policy, and are willing to play a special role in promoting Europe-China relations.
Before their talks, King Philippe held a grand welcome ceremony for the Chinese leader.
Xi also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers later in the day.
The Chinese president arrived in Brussels on Sunday for a state visit to Belgium, the first ever made by a Chinese head of state to the country in 27 years.
In a statement released upon his arrival, Xi said he hopes to hold an in-depth exchange of views with Belgian leaders, and have extensive contacts with people from all walks of life, so as to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, elevate the China-Belgium relationship and chart the course for future development of bilateral ties.
The two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreements covering economy and trade, science and technology, telecommunications, and education.
Belgium is the last leg of Xi's ongoing four-nation Europe trip, which has already taken him to the Netherlands, France and Germany. He also attended the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.