Mr. Hans Poulis, Chairman of the NHKBA,
Mr. Peter Potman, Acting DG for Foreign Economic Relations, MFA,
Mr. Arjan van Gils, Vice Mayor and Alderman of the City of Rotterdam,
Mr. Eddie Cheung, Special Representative for HK Economic and Trade Affairs to the EU,
Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,
(Greetings and self-introduction)
A very good evening to all of you.
My great pleasure to join you and many thanks for the invitation.
This is the largest gathering I have ever participated since my arrival on December 25th, 2020.
I have been working very hard over the past nine months, for promoting our bilateral relations, for enhancing the "open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation".
I have very good relations with the business, you are friendly;
Good working relations with the government, who are rational and professional;
Difficult and challenging relations with the parliament, media and sometimes academia.
I was told that Dutch are direct.
I can be equally Dutch direct, no double Dutch.
I hope I won't be labeled a "wolf-warrior" diplomat.
We are open to dialogue, in good faith.
Last year, China became the largest trading partner to EU, also the largest to the NL outside EU.
In 2020, our bilateral trade grew by 7.8%; in the first half of this year, it increased further by more than 30%.
Among EU countries, the Netherlands is the largest destination of Chinese investment and the second largest source of investment to China.
This is quite an accomplishment, especially against all odds of the pandemic.
Then people ask me: how come?
Well, you may help shed light;
I have thought hard, and come up with an answer: this is because people don't go to office and have been working from home during the pandemic.
Seriously speaking, the achievement is testament to: A. resilience; B. potential; C. entrepreneurship of our business.
I hereby wish to extend my sincere thanks to all of you, for your contribution.
A few words on Hong Kong. I know Eddie will focus on the topic. I will be brief.
First, I have been to Hong Kong multiple times. This is the city I love, its bustling cityscape and neon lights; highrises and harbour; food and films especially Bruce Lee's Kungfu films; sights, sounds and songs, to me the dialect is like music. The romantic fusion of the East and the West;
Second, Hong Kong is the gateway to mainland China. China is the most populous country, the second largest economy, with a middle income group over 400 million. What's more important, China is further deepening its reform and widening the opening-up. It will, therefore, continue to boom.
Against this backdrop, we have every reason to believe in Hong Kong's bright future. Hong Kong, as the economic hub, will play an ever bigger role in the region.
Third, China will continue to uphold the principle of "one country two systems". Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong, a high degree of autonomy, of course, within the framework of the Constitution and the Basic Law.
History will prove that we are doing the right things in Hong Kong.
This is the city that will continue to prosper, to lay golden eggs.
I wish to highlight international cooperation before conclusion.
Some politicians today talk more about competition than cooperation.
The relations between major countries are often framed as a competition.
Yet, competition should be fair; and a fair competition should have no foregone conclusion.
It can't be "heads I win tails you cheat".
But more important is the cooperation.
International cooperation is more needed today than ever.
Unprecedented challenges like climate and Covid require unprecedented cooperation.
This is a time to unite, not to divide.
China supports multilateralism.
We are for cooperation, be it bilateral or multilateral, North-South, South-South or tripartite cooperation.
We are partners.
Hope our contribution to international cooperation could be appreciated.
China has become the second largest contributor to UN regular budget and the peacekeeping budget, only after the US.
Oh yes, America first, forever first.
I believe you will believe me on this point.
When we say our major task is to meet the growing need for a better life of the Chinese people, it also means that we have no interest to rival or overtake the superpower for dominance.
China wants to work together with the international community to make it a better world.
It has benefited from the international order, so why to undermine it? It just makes no sense.
Climate change leads to sea level rise, results in more frequent and severe floods.
We all share our fate in the same boat.
China will not rock the boat, will help steady it.
China is part of the solution, not part of the problem.
I am sharing with you some elements of our foreign policy including on international cooperation, some facts and figures on Sino-Dutch economic relations. I hope they could serve as a context or background when talking about Hong Kong.
In two days it will be our National Day, just around the corner.
In three months, it will be the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, not very far.
My best wishes to China, the Netherlands, Sino-Dutch relations, and international cooperation.
My best wishes to Hong Kong, the Pearl of East.
Hong Kong's future will only be brighter.