Dutch royals' visit lends to closer European ties: expert

Updated 2018-02-08 09:14:01

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 7, 2018. Xi's wife Peng Liyuan and the queen Maxima also attended the meeting. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)

The king and queen of Netherlands began a two-day visit to China on Wednesday, which highlighted the mutual benefits available under the Belt and Road initiative, experts said.

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping met King Willem-Alexander, during which the two leaders expressed hope for strengthening cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

This is the third meeting for the two leaders in four years since reciprocal state visits in 2014 and 2015.

As the symbolic head of state, the king's visit to China showcased its positive attitude toward practical cooperation with China, Ding Chun, director of the Center for European Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

According to the schedule, the couple will listen to briefings on Chinese politics, the economy and the Belt and Road initiative from experts at the Dutch Embassy in Beijing.

The Netherlands is an extremely positive force in supporting China's Belt and Road initiative. The framework can also benefit from the country's competitive high-tech and service industries, Zhang Shengjun, an international politics professor at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

"The Netherlands is one of the countries in Europe that has no geopolitical conflicts with China. It is a natural partner. Future bilateral ties will continue to be promising," Zhang said.

The royal couple's visit attracted Chinese internet users.

A Sina Weibo social media webpage titled "The King of Netherland's visit to China" has been viewed 2.68 million times.

The embassy in Beijing posted four photos on Wednesday - the king dressed in a business suit with a light orange tie and the queen wore a checked dress and coat.

Xinhua reported that the king's first daughter, Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria, 14, is learning Chinese. The princess started in 2016, taking two hours of classes a week.

On the heels of French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May, the king's visit showcases strong and closer European ties with China, Ding said. "Europe and China cannot leave one another," he said.

On Thursday King Willem-Alexander will leave China to attend the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Queen Maxima will begin the second day of her visit by attending a round-table discussion on green finance and meet Chinese business people and architects, the Royal House said.

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