China’s new Vice President Han Zheng was sworn in in Beijing last March
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 12:24
Chinese Vice President Han Zheng is in The Hague today for an official visit. He will pay a visit to King Willem-Alexander at Huis ten Bosch Palace and will speak halfway through the afternoon with Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. According to the Government Information Service, that conversation is about trade and cooperation in the field of climate and water, among other things.
It is the third visit to a European country in a week for Han: he has been in Portugal in recent days and on Saturday he represented his country at the coronation of British King Charles. China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang is also currently in Europe, visiting Germany, France and Norway.
According to Ingrid d’Hooghe, China expert at the Clingendael Institute, the country is conducting a charm offensive in Europe. “China wants the European countries to pay less attention to the Americans. The message is that Europe must detach itself from the US and continue to invest in the country of the future: China.”
Relationship is under pressure
But there are serious concerns in Europe about ties with China. According to d’Hooghe, this not only concerns human rights violations in the country, but also China’s support for Russia despite the war in Ukraine and the influence on students and universities.
Relations between the Netherlands and China are also under pressure. “There are mutual irritations. It turned out that there are Chinese police stations here, which Minister Hoekstra was not pleased with. The export ban for certain ASML chip machines is a thorn in China’s side.”
Given all the struggles, according to d’Hooghe, Han’s visit should above all convey the message that the Netherlands must continue to cooperate well with China. “European leaders have also said that they cannot afford to separate Europe from China. They want to reduce risks and shape cooperation more carefully and strategically. That is music to China’s ears.”
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