China to Further Ties With Belgium: Zhu

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji said Monday that his country is willing to promote friendly cooperation with Belgium in various aspects.

The Chinese premier told his Belgian counterpart, Guy Verhofstadt, that he is satisfied with the status quo of the bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said that China and Belgium now enjoy a rather sound relationship, that there is no outstanding difficulty in ties between the two countries and that the two countries have supported each other within the framework of the United Nations and have fostered sound cooperation in this international institution.

The Chinese premier said that bilateral trade has registered encouraging development in recent years. Sino-Belgian trade in the first five months of this year increased by 38.1 percent as against the corresponding period last year.

China and Belgium have been forging and deepening exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture, science, technology and education, Zhu added.

The Chinese premier started his official visit to Belgium Monday after a tour of Italy that ended late Sunday.

The Belgian prime minister spoke highly of the Belgian-Chinese relations during his meeting with Zhu. He said that there has been a long-established friendly exchange between the two countries and the two peoples have cherished friendship toward each other.

The economic and trade cooperation between Belgium and China has demonstrated a sound trend of development and the two countries have scheduled to meet in the second half of this year for a joint committee of economy and trade aimed at comparing notes on related issues, the Belgian prime minister told the Chinese visitor.

The Belgian government firmly supports China's accession into the World Trade Organization and the Belgian entrepreneurs and industrialists take great interest in China's move to develop the western part of the Asian country.

The Belgian authorities are encouraging the country's entrepreneurs and industrialists to join in the Chinese process in the west, the Belgian prime minister said.

The Chinese premier and the Belgian prime minister briefed each other of their countries' latest development in economy and exchanged views on various events of common concern.

Verhofstadt informed Zhu about the integration process of the European Union and promised that when Belgium takes over the rotating presidency of the 15-nation bloc in the latter half of next year, his country will strive to further the Euro-Chinese relations.

Earlier Monday, Chinese Premier Zhu met with Belgium's King Albert II as part of a tour of what has been claimed as the European capital. Zhu met with the speaker of the lower house of the Belgian parliament on the same day.

People's Daily Online ---