Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are paying a state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese Foreign Ministry said President Xi and Premier Li Keqiang will hold separate meetings with the Dutch king during his stay, which starts.
China’s foreign ministry said the monarch’s visit will inject impetus into the growth of China-Netherlands bilateral relationship in the new era.
“King Willem-Alexander is friendly to China and we hope this visit will further enhance political mutual trust, elevate bilateral cooperation in various fields,” it said.
A king knows about water
King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima attend the traditional New Year’s reception in the Royal Palace on the Dam in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
At the age of 45, Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand took up the throne from his mother Queen Beatrix in April 2013, as the head of House of Orange-Nassau and the Kingdom of the Netherlands and became the Netherlands’ first king in more than a century.
Before him, the country’s last king was Willem-Alexander’s great-great grandfather William III.
Willem-Alexander married Maxima Zorrigueta in 2002 and the royal couple has three daughters.
A third of the country of nearly 17 million is below sea level. King Alexander likes to see himself as someone who “knows a bit about water management.” He has been immersed in the business of water management and conservation, and he sits on several international committees.
From friendship to partnership
President Xi and the royal couple are no strangers.
Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan met the royals during a state visit to the Netherlands in March 2014.
The Dutch king and queen made their first official trip to China in October 2015.
The royal couple spent five days traveling around China, from the capital of Beijing to the Loess Plateau in northwestern Shaanxi Province, from the country’s financial hub of Shanghai to the “City of Heaven”, Hangzhou.
After talks with President Xi, the Dutch king noted that the two countries maintain “a traditional friendship” as well as “an important ally of Netherlands in Asia.”
After the exchange of visits by President Xi and the Dutch king, both countries cemented cooperation deals including Beijing-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The European country joined the AIIB as a founding state in 2015 against US objections.
Beijing and Amsterdam also agreed to establish and “open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation.”
The bilateral trade volume grew from 69 million US dollars in 1972 to 67.2 billion US dollars in 2016, an increase of almost 1000 times in 45 years, according to official figures.
The Netherlands has become the third largest investor from the EU.
Meanwhile, China has invested in almost 600 projects in the Netherlands covering various industries and creating about 10,000 jobs.
In terms of people and cultural exchanges, two Chinese universities have established a major in Dutch language studies. About 9,000 Chinese students are studying in the Netherlands, the second second most among foreign students.
Some 13 Dutch secondary schools have set up Confucius classrooms. China also opened a cultural center in The Hague in 2016.
The Dutch king clinched a panda deal on his last trip. In 2017, the Netherlands welcomed two giant pandas. The previous panda presence in the country was in 1987 when two pandas were on display at a Dutch park for four months.
Giant pandas have been picked as a goodwill gift from Beijing as a sign of good ties with another country.
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