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Xi calls for Belgium participation in China-led bank

By AN BAIJIE | | Updated: 2016-10-31 19:10

China is calling on Belgium to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and wishes Belgium to become an AIIB member as soon as possible, President Xi Jinping said on Monday.

Xi made the remarks in Beijing while meeting with visiting Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel.

China hopes that Belgium can seize the opportunity of the Belt and Road construction to push forward the development of the China-Europe logistics industry and cross-border e-commerce cooperation, Xi said.

China and Belgium should enhance cooperation in high-tech and high added-value areas, including advanced manufacturing, new energy, environmental protection and the modern service industry, Xi said.

"The consensuses I reached with Belgium leaders in the past two years have been fully implemented, and the China-Belgium relationship is progressing steadily in the direction set by the two sides."

The Beijing-based AIIB is a multilateral development bank initiated by China and supported by a wide range of countries and regions, which will provide financial support for infrastructure upgrades in Asia.

The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Xi in 2013 with a focus on infrastructure, was aimed at reviving the ancient Silk Road trade route linking Asia and Europe.

Michel told Xi that Belgium was willing to expand cooperation with China in areas including legislature, investment, innovation, aerospace, the new energy digital economy and infrastructure.

Belgium believes that developing positive ties with China is in the interests of the European Union, and the country is dedicated to the establishment of mutual-trust and mutual-beneficial EU-China ties, he said.

Wang Yiwei, an expert of European studies at the Renmin University of China, said Belgium had geographic advantages to boost China-Europe communications since it was the "political capital" of Europe with the headquarters of the European Union and NATO located.

Belgium's participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could raise the share of the euro in the bank, thus to boost the world's confidence toward euro, he said.

Although Belgium is a small country, it has advantageous industries not only in heavy industries such as steel, chemistry and auto-making but also in light industries including beer and chocolate, he added.

Zhang Zhihao contributed to this story.


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