New Dutch consulate in Chongqing
The Netherlands will open up a consulate-general in Chongqing, the fastest growing province of China. Minister of Foreign Affairs Timmermans and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi came to this agreement in Peking on June 11, 2013. Both ministers exchanged memoranda to that effect. China will open a consulate-general in Willemstad, Curaçao.
The consulate-general in Chongqing can be operational within a few months. As a result Dutch companies will be able to draw on more support in the west of China.
Timmermans is among the first of his European colleagues to visit the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. The two ministers discussed opportunities for Dutch companies in China. Timmermans: "The Netherlands would like to contribute to an improvement in the quality of growth and development in China, for example by aiding in sustainability. Dutch companies and knowledge institutions have a lot of experience and expertise to offer in such areas as responsible water use, waste disposal and sustainable economies."
Timmermans and Wang agreed to further intensify contacts at the political, economic and cultural level. In the coming year, China will host the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Concert Hall Orchestra among others.
In the autumn prime minister Rutte will also pay a visit to China. The date of this visit has not yet been set.
Both ministers discussed a number of internationally important issues, China's relationship with the United States and Russia, and topics of mutual importance such as energy security, trade barriers and visa facilitation.
Timmermans also talked to Wang about human rights. At the Dutch embassy the minister met with human rights advocates. They informed the minister about current developments in the human rights situation in China, such as the opportunities that the internet brings to bear. The internet offers the Chinese a platform for the reporting of human rights violations, even if censorship eventually catches up with such reporting. Civil society has received a boost, it's easier for civil organisations to organise, and the people are more aware of human rights violations thanks to the possibilities that the internet offers, according to those human rights advocates. For example, resistance against Reform Through Labour is on the increase.
Timmermans also met with representatives of Dutch companies in China. With representatives from Shell, Friesland Campina, Fokker Elmo, Teesing and ING the minister discussed business practices in China and support by the embassy, consulates and business support offices. The companies emphasised the importance of access to the Chinese authorities at a high level, which is something that the embassy facilitates. There are about one thousand Dutch companies active in China.
At the invitation of Minister Wang Yi, the two Foreign Ministers attended the friendly football match between China and The Netherlands, which ended in 0-2. At the football match both ministers exchanged football shirts.