The Netherlands is the first country in the European Union to present key points for a constructive, but at the same time critical China-strategy. The strategic goal is to reweight bilateral relations between the two countries. In its cooperation with China, the Netherlands wants to seize opportunities whenever possible and protect its interests whenever necessary.
For The Hague, China is neither a market economy nor a democracy based on the rule of law. Central points of criticism are unfair trade practices, the compulsion to transfer technology, cyber espionage and military armament, but also the undesirable influence on its own norms and values. It is absolutely legitimate for China to claim its place in the world, but it should do so fairly – under equal and fair conditions of competition and in accordance with international rules.
Cooperation between the Netherlands and China will be sought on the basis of common interests and ideological differences. Important topics for cooperation are the development goals of the United Nations (Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs), climate change and energy, combating epidemics, circular economy and sustainability, care for the elderly, agricultural food, and the complex of logistics and transport.
The Hague assumes that a constructive-critical China strategy cannot be developed and implemented on its own, but only together with the EU and like-minded partners in North America, Asia, and Oceania. To this end, the government will invest in knowledge about China, a more intensive exchange of information and awareness-raising within the governments and authorities, the private sector, knowledge institutions, and the EU.
Source: Government of the Netherlands / MERICS