‘Important progress’ seen in ties with Belgium
Two treaties on extradition, transfer of sentenced people boost cooperation
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