From September 26th to 27th, 2023, Minister Wang Zhigang and his delegation visited the Netherlands upon invitation. He held bilateral talks with Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robert Dijkgraaf and Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Micky Adriaansens. They attended the first Joint Committee Meeting between China and Netherlands on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Cooperation and delivered speeches. At the meeting, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on STI cooperation.
Minister Wang said that in May 2022, President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with King Alexander of the Netherlands to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, setting the direction for the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations. Science and technology is one of the essential areas of cooperation. The convening of the first Joint Committee Meeting on STI Cooperation is a concrete measure to implement the consensus reached between the two leaders of the countries, and is a milestone in bilateral STI cooperation.
Minister Wang spoke highly of the fruitful achievements in joint research projects, platform construction, and personnel exchanges since the signing of the Inter-Governmental Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement in 1999. He conducted in-depth discussions with the Dutch side on deepening STI cooperation in the next stage, identifying priority areas and cooperation methods. Minister Wang stated that through this joint committee meeting, the two sides have reached multiple cooperation consensus. In the future, China is willing to work with the Netherlands to provide more support for universities, research institutions, and enterprises and other innovative entities to carry out cooperation, create a good cooperation environment, so that more scientific and technological solutions are generated for common challenges of the world.
Minister Dijkgraaf and Minister Adriaansens highly agreed with Minister Wang‘s views and cooperation suggestions, saying that the Netherlands regards China as a major partner in STI cooperation. Both sides have carried out practical, efficient, and mutually beneficial cooperation to address the challenges faced by humanity. It is in the common interests of both sides to carry on STI cooperation. The first Netherlands-China Joint Committee Meeting on STI Cooperation will provide guidance for future cooperation between the two countries. The Netherlands is willing to work together with China to follow up on the consensus of this meeting and further deepen cooperation.
Zhao Deyong, Chargéd’ affaires of the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands, Dai Gang, Director-General of the International Cooperation Department, Cao Ning, Deputy Director-General of the Policy, Regulation and Innovation System Department of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Yin Wenxuan, Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Bureau of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Fang Qiang, Senior Program Officer of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and representatives from the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and other institutions attended the Joint Committee Meeting.
The Dutch counterpart of the meeting included Feite Hofman, Director of the Higher Education and Science Department of the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science of the Netherlands, Astrid Bronswijk, Head of the Innovation and Knowledge Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Freekjan Frerichs, Counselor for Science and Technology Innovation at the Dutch Embassy in China, Esmé Cartens, Counselor for Education and Science, and representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and the Dutch Research Council.
During the visit, Minister Wang attended the China-Netherlands Scientists Symposium and had exchanges with Dutch scientists and young researchers in fields such as biomedicine, agriculture, water resources, materials. He presented Chinese Government Friendship Awards to two Dutch experts who won the 2021 and 2022 Awards respectively. He visited the Deltares and other research institutes to gain a deeper understanding of the development of STI in the Netherlands, China-Netherlands STI cooperation and joint research platforms.