Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Belgian King Philippe in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Belgian King Philippe here on Tuesday, expressing support to the European integration process and opposition to trade protectionism.
"China always firmly supports the process of European integration and stands ready to accelerate the building of China-Europe partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization," Xi said in the meeting with King Philippe on the sidelines of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
Xi proposed that China and Europe jointly oppose trade protectionism and safeguard a fair and free global trade and investment system.
China expects Belgium to play a more active role in enhancing China-Europe ties, he said.
Hailing Belgium as one of the EU countries with the closest ties with China, Xi said he and King Philippe have made reciprocal visits in 2014 and 2015, with all consensus they reached being implemented in an all-round way.
Xi spoke highly of Belgian government's adherence to the one-China policy, its respect for China's core interests and major concerns and its concrete actions to safeguard the political foundation of the bilateral friendship.
China is willing to work together with Belgium to enhance political mutual trust and ensure the bilateral ties to advance in the right direction, said Xi.
The Chinese president urged the two countries to deepen practical cooperation in areas such as high-end manufacturing, biomedicine, modern services and sustainable development, adding that the two sides should also consolidate people-to-people exchanges.
For his part, King Philippe hailed China as a great country, thanked China for attaching great importance to Belgium's status as the "heart of Europe" and described the bilateral cooperation as an example for China-Europe cooperation.
Noting that Belgium and China hold similar views on many major international issues, King Philippe said Belgium will work together with China to further advance the European integration process and safeguard world peace and development.
The Chinese president arrived in Switzerland on Sunday. Xi is the first Chinese head of state to attend the Davos meeting.