|Interview: Innovation gives impetus for elevating China-Belgium ties: ambassador|
by Xinhua writers Gan Chun, Pan Geping
"The Chinese economy is now at a crucial stage where it is transforming from a manufacturing-based economy to an innovation-driven economy, and
One of the latest attempts for such cooperation was the launch of the
"The basic concept of this project is to bridge Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises and Belgian research institutions. They can cooperate to commercialize new technology, and turn it into products that meet the needs of both Chinese and Belgian consumers," Qu explained.
The year 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between
Looking back on the 45 years of development of bilateral ties, Qu underlined that
"In 1971, the trade volume between the two countries was only 20 million U.S. dollars. Last year, it amounted to 23.2 billion U.S. dollars, 1,150 times what it began with," he said. "That is to say, now the trade volume of every seven hours is equivalent to that of a whole year when they first established diplomatic ties."
"In 2014 and 2015, heads of state from both countries visited each other," he added. "Tourism, culture and education exchanges have also become more frequent and diverse."
Last year, over 110,000 passengers took the direct flight from
There are currently around 4,000 Chinese students studying at Belgian universities, while an increasing number of Belgian students are taking Chinese courses and even going to
These numbers demonstrate a flourishing relationship between
"For the years to come, the two countries will not only deepen their political and economic ties, but also head towards the direction of innovative cooperation," the ambassador stressed.