‘Im­por­tant progress’ seen in ties with Bel­gium

Two treaties on ex­tra­di­tion, trans­fer of sen­tenced peo­ple boost co­op­er­a­tion

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chinadaily.com.cn Zhang Zhi­hao con­trib­uted to this story.

China and Bel­gium signed two treaties on the ex­tra­di­tion and trans­fer of sen­tenced peo­ple on Mon­day, paving the way for fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing’s an­ti­cor­rup­tion ef­forts.

The two treaties were among seven co­op­er­a­tive doc­u­ments signed at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing. The sign­ings were wit­nessed by Premier Li Ke­qiang and Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter Charles Michel.

Zhu Jing, a coun­cilor of the For­eign Min­istry’s De­part­ment of Euro­pean Af­fairs, said China and Bel­gium have con­ducted con­sul­ta­tions and ne­go­ti­a­tions on the two treaties since March.

“It’s a trend that China is en­hanc­ing ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries against the back­drop of an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese com­pa­nies go­ing global and ex­pand­ing in­ter­ests over­seas,” he said.

This marks “im­por­tant progress” in ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two na­tions, Zhu added.

The two treaties will be re­viewed by leg­isla­tive au­thor­i­ties of both coun­tries be­fore they are car­ried out, and China ex­pressed the hope of speed­ing up the ap­proval process, he added.

China has strength­ened ef­forts to track down and bring back fugi­tives who have fled over­seas in re­cent years. As of Au­gust, Chi­nese po­lice­men have seized 409 fugi­tives in 61 coun­tries and re­gions, ac­cord­ing to Xin­hua News Agency.

In Septem­ber, a G20 an­ti­cor­rup­tion cen­ter was es­tab­lished on the side­lines of the G20 Sum­mit in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

Besides the ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion treaties, China and Bel­gium also agreed to open an air­line route from Shang­hai to Brus­sels. Com­pa­nies in both coun­tries have also signed agree­ments to boost co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas in­clud­ing ship­ping.

Dur­ing the talks, Li told Michel that China wants Bel­gium to re­lax re­stric­tions on ex­ports of high-tech prod­ucts to China.

Say­ing that Bel­gium has played a lead­ing role within the EU re­gard­ing prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion with China, Li added that China hopes to speed up ne­go­ti­a­tions on a China-Europe in­vest­ment pact and a fea­si­bil­ity study for a China-Europe free trade zone.

Li also called for joint ef­forts with Europe to send a sig­nal of anti-pro­tec­tion­ism.

Michel said that Bel­gium is ded­i­cated to co­op­er­a­tion with China in ar­eas in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, fi­nance and in­sur­ance.

Bel­gium would also like to push for­ward ne­go­ti­a­tions on a China-Europe in­vest­ment pact, he said.

Wang Yi­wei, an ex­pert of Euro­pean stud­ies at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said that Bel­gium has geo­graphic ad­van­tages to boost China-Europe com­mu­ni­ca­tions, since it is the “po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal” of Europe, with the head­quar­ters of the Euro­pean Union and NATO lo­cated there.

Bel­gium’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank could raise the share of the euro in the bank, thus boosting the world’s con­fi­dence in the euro, Wang said.

Bel­gium has ad­van­tages in in­dus­tries such as steel, chem­istry, auto-mak­ing, beer and choco­late, he added.

The trade vol­ume be­tween China and Bel­gium was $23.2 bil­lion last year.

Charles Michel, prime min­is­ter of Bel­gium

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