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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Wu Ken at the Reception on His Arrival

May 30, 2016, The Hague

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to sincerely welcome all of you to the reception this evening. It is now perhaps the best season of the year in the Netherlands, and it is vibrant everywhere. It’s my great honor to work in this beautiful country. Upon arrival, I am deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and friendliness of the Dutch people, as well as their talent for languages. A few days ago, when I presented the letter of credence to His Majesty King Willem Alexander, considering the fact that I can fluently communicate in German, His Majesty the King talked with me specially in German, which is a unique and unforgettable experience for me. It reflects the King’s friendliness to the Chinese people and also urges me to speed up my Dutch language study. Today is my first try and I hope to communicate more with you in Dutch in the near future.

The Netherlands is a very special country although its area is not so big. The ‘Sea Coachman’, the tulip and the windmill are almost synonyms of the Netherlands. Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Erasmus, Spinoza and Hugo Grotius are worldly famous for their great contributions to the progress of human civilization. The Dutch people have struggled with the sea and reclaimed land from it, through which they built up their beautiful homeland on this lowland and marshes. As it is engraved on the Dutch national emblem ‘Je Maintiendrai!’, the Dutch people created a glorious history, prosperous economy and splendid culture with their national character of perseverance. This character is also a spiritual pillar for the Chinese people to live and flourish through the past five thousand years.

Speaking of the Netherlands, we must mention Dutch football which is famous for its ‘total football’ tradition. Dutch football has a lot of loyal fans in China, including my son and myself. Johan Cruyff, “the Three Dutch swordsmen”---Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp and Edwin van der Sar are our common idols. Before I came to the Netherlands, my son was very envious that I can watch Dutch football matches at close distance. But it is a pity that the Dutch National Football Team has to enjoy their ‘summer holidays’ soon. We cannot see the bright orange color in the coming European Championship. However, I expect that the Dutch Football Team can regain its former glory and have a brilliant performance in World Cup 2018.

As the 14th Chinese Ambassador accredited to the Netherlands, the missions on my shoulders are glorious and important. First, I come here to inherit and pass on our traditional friendship.

There is a Dutch saying, ‘time is friendship’s ally’. The exchanges between China and the Netherlands date back to 400 years ago, when the Maritime Silk Road stretching from Guangzhou of China to Rotterdam connected the two countries. Early in the 17th century, influenced by Chinese blue and white porcelain, the Dutch people made the Delft blue porcelain which enjoyed great popularity all over Europe. Leiden University, which became one of the Western authorities of Sinology studies in the 19th century, is still the center of European Sinology studies. During World War II, our two peoples, hand in hand, fought a bloody war together against fascist aggression, and made important contributions to the world peace and justice.

The Netherlands was one of the first Western countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China. The Sino-Dutch relationship, despite some twists and turns, has maintained a good developing momentum since it was upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1972. In recent years, especially in the last two years, the heads of our two countries had paid successful and historical state visits to each other. The Sino-Dutch relationship has been ushered into a new era of the open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation, which has injected new impetus into our long-term friendship. When presenting the letter of credence, I told His Majesty the King that a pair of giant pandas will arrive in the Netherlands in the near future. In that case, including me, there will be 3 Chinese Ambassadors in the Netherlands, which fully shows that the Sino-Dutch relationship has developed into a very high level. I cherish the current good situation which is really hard-won, and I will certainly continue to work hard to add new ‘bricks’ to the ‘great mansion’ of our friendship.

Secondly, I come here to strengthen our cooperation. The high-level development of the Sino-Dutch relationship is deeply rooted in the practical cooperation in various fields. I would like to raise some evident figures. The Netherlands is right now China’s third largest partner in the EU both in trade and direct investment, next only to Germany and the UK. China is Holland’s second largest foreign investment origin and the second largest trade partner outside the EU, second only to the US. Almost one quarter of the freight discharged in the Port of Rotterdam come from China. Now more than one thousand Dutch companies are running business in China, and more than 500 Chinese companies created almost 10 thousand jobs in the Netherlands. Last year, almost 300 thousand Chinese tourists traveled to the Netherlands, which is on the top among Asian countries. There are about 10 thousand Chinese students studying in the Netherlands, which makes China, next only to Germany, as the second largest origin of overseas students of the Netherlands. All above-mentioned figures are really amazing, which highlight the Sino-Dutch relationship as the model of friendly cooperation between countries with different sizes, different historical and cultural traditions and different systems.

What will be the new sources and potential areas for the growth of our bilateral cooperation in the future? I believe this question is also cared about by many Dutch friends. Here I would like to share 3 stories with you.

First one, before I came to the Netherlands, I visited my home town in Hunan Province, which is a province in the middle part of China and is not at the forefront of reform and opening-up. But to my surprise, a tulip garden was opened recently. The head of garden told me that they bought 500 thousand tulip bulbs from the Netherlands. The flowers are of high quality but a little bit expensive. They hope that I can help bargain with the Dutch companies so that they can buy more next year.

Second story, Guangdong Province, where I worked before coming to the Netherlands, is the forefront of reform and opening-up in China, and is strong in manufacturing industry. Many factories there mainly produced shoes, clothes and suitcases before, which were at the low end of the industrial chain. Now they are transforming and upgrading to the medium and high end of the chain. They have favorable conditions including infrastructure, human resource, policy and capital support and are really eager to cooperate with top international corporations.

Now comes to the third story. Wechat is one of the most popular communication applications for mobile phones. Since its launch in 2011, the amount of active users has reached 650 million. The secret of Wechat’s success lies in the continuous innovation and constant development of new functions. For example, Wechat has a very useful function called ‘go Dutch’. After gathering with friends, you could easily share the bill by simply scanning QR code(quick response code). China has a huge population and market so that the innovation of technology, product and service, no matter how small it is, could easily achieve success, if only it facilitates people’s work or life.

Tiny clues reveal the general trend. The above-mentioned 3 stories tell us that, there is a broad prospect for Sino-Dutch cooperation in many areas including agriculture, floriculture, manufacture as well as IT industry. The driving force to deepen the bilateral cooperation is China’s continuous economic and social transformation and development. From a broader perspective, China’s 13th Five Year Plan set out five development concepts, namely innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, which will become new engines for china’s economic growth in the future. In these five development fields, the Netherlands has advanced technologies, ideas and rich experience, especially about the innovation and green economy. There is huge potential for our cooperation. What’s more, China has introduced ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. If we look at the map, China and the Netherlands are located at the two ends of the Belt and the Road respectively, across the Eurasia continent and 3 oceans. The shipping, warehousing and logistics industry are so developed in the Netherlands that there will be huge space for bilateral cooperation. That is why I’m very confident that the bilateral cooperation can be pushed further to a new high, although the existing cooperation has already reached a high level. As a line from a famous Chinese poem says, ‘for a grander sight, climb to a greater height’. I believe the sight will be more beautiful after bilateral cooperation hits a new high.

Meanwhile, there are also many international organizations in the Hague. As China’s new Representative to the OPCW, I’m willing to establish and keep close personal and working relationship and to cooperate with all of you to further promote the exchanges between China and the World, and safeguard the world peace, security and justice.

Thirdly, I come here to broadcast “The Voice of China”. “The Voice of China” is the Chinese version of the Dutch famous entertainment show “The Voice of Holland”. It gains high audience rating since its introduction into China, as well as it does in some other countries which also introduced this show. This fully shows that, in this age of globalization, in spite of the language and cultural differences, all countries are expecting to sing out their voices, while hear the voices from others. I’ve just arrived in the Netherlands for less than a month, but I have heard a lot of Dutch friends saying that, “the development and prosperity of China are in line with the Dutch interests and are welcomed heartily by the Dutch side ”, “the Netherlands is willing to hear the Chinese voice and learn its story”. As the Ambassador of China, it is my obligatory duty to sing out the Chinese voice and to articulate the Chinese story. I sincerely wish that, by my efforts, the Dutch people from all circles could have more comprehensive knowledge about the bright and long history and culture of China, as well as the great achievements of China’s modern development. I wish that the Dutch people could feel the deep friendship from the Chinese people and see our firm determination on keeping peace, seeking cooperation and promoting development. I myself and the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands would act as bridges and windows, and work hard together with you all to enhance mutual trust, reduce differences, eliminate barriers and promote cooperation.

At last, I would like to express our thanks to everybody for your support and assistance to our Embassy’s work. I would try my best to perform my duties and push the Sino-Dutch relationship and the international cooperation to a higher level. I’m looking forward to having good cooperation with all of you in the future.

Thank you!

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