Joint declaration between the Kingdom of Belgium and the People’s Republic of China concerning the strengthening of their global Friendship and Cooperation Partnership

date: 31 March 2014

At the invitation of the Belgian King, the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, from 30 March to 1 April 2014 paid a visit to the Kingdom of Belgium. President Xi Jinping met with the King as well as with the President of the Chamber of Representatives, André Flahaut, and attended a meeting with Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

The visit offered the opportunity to draw up a favourable balance sheet of the friendly exchanges between China and Belgium. Delighted with the successful results of their cooperation in various domains since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1971, both parties have decided, on the basis of already existing excellent relations, to strengthen their global Friendship and Cooperation Partnership in order to still further advance their bilateral relations.

As sincere partners, Belgium and China are expressing their mutual respect and trust in matters related to sovereignty, security, and development, and are prepared to assume responsibilities vis-à-vis issues of peace, stability, prosperity, and sustainable progress in and for both countries and the international community as a whole. Unequivocally, Belgium reaffirms its one-China policy, with respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In turn, China will support the European integration, attaching great importance to Belgium’s role as a driving force in that historic process.

Both parties reaffirm, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, their joint commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.

Belgium and China place their action within the global strategic partnership between China and the European Union. Both parties endorse the efforts made by China and the European Union that are aimed at exploring means and resources to bind the Chinese-European cooperation to the construction of the economic architecture of the Silk Road, to work together on the development of the great Eurasian market, and to foster the growth of the movement of persons, businesses, capital, and technologies on the Eurasian continent. They express their preference for a suitable and fitting Chinese and European Union resolution of their commercial disagreements via dialogue and consultation.

Belgium was one of the first nations to favourably accept the launching of China’s policy of reformation and opening of the country to western industry. With the development of the industrial and technological cooperation with China in mind, Belgium has approved government loans to China and formed with the latter joint investment funds. Today, a number of different projects are under development in Belgium that are innovative and advantageous to both nations. These projects are creating possibilities and opportunities in the areas of joint scientific research and the establishment of Chinese industries. China understands and fully appreciates Belgium’s privileged and favourable location in the heartland of institutional and economic Europe.

Belgium and China are pleased with the fact that the joint research programme related to the protection of the giant pandas illustrates at the most appropriate moment the friendly relations that bind the two nations together. Both parties likewise express their satisfaction about the fact that the agreements to be signed in the course of this visit reflect the role played by their institutions, universities, and industries in the development of their bilateral partnership.

Belgium and China are thus planning to further strengthen their relationships in areas such as student and research exchanges, the development of joint educational and research programmes, and economic, technical-scientific, socio-cultural, and agricultural cooperation. For the short and the medium terms, both parties wish to cooperate especially in the following areas:

  • The organisation, in October 2014 in China, of the 20th session of the Joint Economic and Trade Commission China-Belgium-Luxembourg and of the 2nd meeting of the Chinese-Belgium working group for the promotion of investments. These events will enable us to explore the possibilities to expand investments, to promote cooperation amongst the SMEs, and to form new poles of growth oriented towards an innovative, green, and circular economy.
  • The organisation in 2014 of the 2nd session of the Joint Chinese-Belgian Commission for Oceanographic and Polar Cooperation, with a view to reinforcing our collaboration in that field.
  • Delighted with the successful results of the negotiations about an agreement concerning mutual representation in criminal proceedings, both parties are hoping to proceed to a speedy ratification.
  • An ongoing encouragement of the Chinese investment projects in Belgium and, in particular, of the China Belgium Technology Centre, to be established in Louvain-la-Neuve.
  • The joint promotion of the railway connection between Antwerp and western China, which will facilitate the movement of goods between Europe and China.
  • The continuation of the existing cooperation and of the discussions that are to promote access to the Chinese market for Belgian agricultural and food products.
  • The joint effort oriented towards the opening of the new Chinese cultural centre in Brussels prior to the end of 2014, the celebration in 2014 of the 20th anniversary of the twinning between Beijing and Brussels, as well as the participation of Chinese artistic delegations in the activities to be organized in the context of “Mons, European Capital of Culture 2015”.

President Xi Jinping thanked Belgium for the warm and friendly welcome accorded to him during his brief sojourn and in turn has invited the King to visit China at a time convenient for both parties.

The King has accepted this invitation with great pleasure.