Ambassador Zhang Jun Receives Interview with The Local Expat
（From Chinese Embassy in Netherlands）
2012 marks the 40th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Netherlands. Ambassador Zhang Jun received an interview recently with The Local Expat and elaborated on issues such as Sino-Dutch relations as well as economic and social development of China. The full text is as follows:
1. Since when are you the Ambassador of China in the Netherlands and what do you think of living in the Netherlands?
I presented my letter of credentials to Her Majesty on 21 May 2008. Undoubtedly, life of the past four years was busy yet fruitful. I had a deeper understanding of Dutch culture, and made many Dutch friends. This wonderful experience will always linger in my memory.
2. This year China and the Netherlands will celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations. Can you tell the readers more about this?
The contact between China and the Netherlands can be traced back to late 16th and early 17th century. 1972 witnessed the establishment of ambassadorial diplomatic relations between the two countries. Three points can briefly summarize the past 40 years: first, though with ups and downs, the development of bilateral relations has moved onto the right track. Second, the two countries have enjoyed fruitful cooperation in all fields and established comprehensive and cooperative partnership. Third, the two peoples have got tangible benefits from the cooperation, and strongly support further development of Sino-Dutch relations. I believe the 40th anniversary will be a new start, leading bilateral relations to a bright prospect.
3. What will be the main events in China and in the Netherlands?
Both China and the Netherlands will celebrate the 40th Anniversary through a series of activities. Leaders of both sides will exchange congratulatory message on this event. Reception and seminar will be organized. People will also have the opportunities to enjoy culture performance and photo exhibition.
4. The Netherlands is a very important trade partner of China. What is the ranking of the Netherlands in this aspect? Which are the main trade articles between the two countries?
Indeed, China and the Netherlands have established close partnership in economic and trade cooperation. The most significant feature is mutual benefit and win-win outcome. The Netherlands has been the 2nd largest trade partner of China among all EU countries for 9 consecutive years. Although affected by the financial crisis, trade volume between the two countries reached a record high of 68.15 billion US dollars in 2011. Export of the Netherlands to China increased by 33.6%, further highlighting the importance of the cooperation between the two countries. Trade articles are mainly mechanical and electronic products, household necessities, manufacturing products, textile and etc. Two-way investments have been growing smoothly. China has become the 2nd largest foreign investment source of the Netherlands. Dutch companies also benefited greatly from their investment in China. Facts demonstrate clearly that this partnership has not only boosted healthy development of our bilateral relations, but also brought tangible benefits to our two people.
5. 2012 is the year of the dragon in China according to the Chinese astrology. Can you explain more about this?
Among twelve animal symbols in Chinese Zodiac, Dragon is the 5th one. Dragon is the creature of legend, and was the symbol of emperor in the early history of China. At present, Dragon signifies dynamics, prosperity and happiness, which, I believe, are most needed against the backdrop of grim world economy. Quite different from the western version, Chinese Dragon is peaceful and friendly.
6. China always makes a national planning for the country for a 5 years term. What is conceived in this plan and what are the objectives during this term?
Yes, we adopted the 12th Five-Year Plan last year. The purpose of doing so is to maintain the continuity of the policies, and it proves very effective. Taking scientific development as the theme and accelerating transformation of the pattern of economic development as the main thread, China will further expand domestic demand and get the economic growth driven by a balanced mix of consumer demanding, investment and exports; promote innovation and develop strategic emerging industries; conserve resource and protect environment; and comprehensively improve people's well-being. I believe by achieving all the targets with hard work, China's development will be more robust, sound and sustainable.
7. Many Chinese youngsters study at Dutch universities. What are they studying in general? Do you have any idea about their number?
The Netherlands is one of the most popular European countries attractive to Chinese students. As far as I know, 5400 Chinese youngsters are studying at Dutch universities. Including those who have already graduated, the total number approximately reaches 8000. They mainly major in economics, BBA, logistics, finance, and law. Many of them are also interested in the areas important to China's development such as agriculture, water conservancy, chemistry, and biological science, which the Netherlands enjoys obvious advantage. I believe these Chinese youngsters will make important contribution to our bilateral cooperation.
8. What do you consider as the biggest challenge for your country in the near future?
In the face of complex international and domestic economic environment, China is confronted with a series of challenges, such as maintaining a stable and relatively fast economic growth, accelerating transformation of economic development pattern and making sure the development is to the benefit of all the people. We are fully aware of these challenges and tireless efforts have been made in coping with these issues. As I see it, the momentum and vitality of China's economic growth remain strong. China has strong confidence in the prospect of its economy and development.
9. Did the Chinese people already discover The Netherlands as a tourist destination?
Attracted by beautiful tulips, rotating windmills, world-famous oil paintings, and tasty cheese, and facilitated by the direct flight routes, hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists come to visit the Netherlands every year. I believe with the steady development of bilateral relations, people-to-people exchanges of both sides will be further enhanced, which not only benefits mutual understanding, but also increases cooperation opportunities between the two countries.