Chinese State Visit to Belgium
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Mrs Peng Liyuan, started a three day state visit to Belgium on March 30. The President and his wife arrived at the Zaventem Airport in Brussels in the morning, and were welcomed at the airport by Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.
Then, outside the Royal Palace, took place the welcoming ceremony at the presence of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde. After a performace of the traditional Chinese dances, there was the inspection of the guard of honor and were played the national anthems. In the “Vase Salon” the King decorated President Xi Jinping with Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold. After an audience, the Royal Couple and the Presidential Couple went to the Congress Column in the Place du Congrès to lay a wreath of flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier.
In the afternoon, King Philippe, Queen Mathilde, the President and his wife attended the inauguration of a pavilion at the Pairi Daiza animal park. The pavillion is hosting two giant pandas since February on loan for 15 years by Beijing to Belgium, as part of its ‘Panda diplomacy’. The visit at the park ended in the garden Temple de la Terre where the King and the President planted a wish tree.
In the evening there was a private dinner at the palace in Laeken.
On Monday March 31, President Xi Jinping had various meetings with Presidents of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso. Meanwhile Queen Mathilde and Peng Liyuan, wife of the Chinese President, visited the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in the centre of Brussels. After admiring the collection of the instruments, the Queen and the First Lady attended some musical performances.
The second day of the visit ended with a state dinner at the Royal Castle in Laken. Princess Astrind and her husband, Prince Lorenz, were present as well. This was the first state dinner as King and Queen for King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.
On the third and final day of the visit, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde accompanied the President and his wife for a visit to the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent. Since 2010 the Swedish carmaker is owned by the Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely. The CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, Hakan Samuelsson and Li Shufu, chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co greeted the King, the Queen and the Presidential Couple at their arrival. King Philippe and the Chinese President unveiled the 300,000th car that was produced for the Chinese market, an XC60. President Xi Jinping signed the visitor’s book.
Then they moved to Bruges where there was a reception at the Provincial Court, the Golden Book was signed. At the Bruges concert hall, the Chinese President gave a speech to the students of the College of Europe about the EU – China relations.
The last event of the state visit was a working lunch with Belgian and Chinese businessmen.Filed under Belgian Royals
Tagged Animals, Archduke Lorenz, Austria-Este, Bilateral Relations, China, European Commission, European Union, Exhibition, King Philippe, Music, Order of Leopold, President Xi, Prime Minister Di Rupo, Princess Astrid of Belgium, Queen Mathilde, Royal Orders, State Visit.