The 25th October 1971 being an historical moment for both Belgium and China, the Egmont Institute
and the Belgian Chinese Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to commemorate the fortieth
anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Initially we were considering a formal occasion, but then opted for a more interactive commemoration,
a conference followed by an open Q&A session with the audience, which proved to be very interesting
as the members of our organizations took the opportunity to raise questions related to the economic
and financial developments in China.
As a result, we have been able to welcome H.E. Liao Liqiang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic
of China in Belgium and H.E. Steven Vanackere, Minister of foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of
Belgium for that commemoration.
It was opened by Viscount Davignon, chairman of the Egmont Institute, who gave some insight into
the negotiation process which led to the opening of the diplomatic relations.
Another important testimony was the presentation of H.E. honorary Ambassador Patrick Nothomb,
who was the first Belgian Chargé d’affaires a.i. in China.
Furthermore, on the eve of the 9th Belgian Economic and trade mission led by H.R.H. Prince Philippe
to China, the choice of the conference topic was obvious:
“Forty years on, how has China Changed and how have relations with Belgium and Europe
Our key note speaker was Jonathan Fenby, a respected and knowledgeable British journalist,
specialized on China issues. His discussants were Mr. Peter Vande Houte, chief economist
Eurozone for ING, and Mr. Chen Fei, general manager of the Industrial Bank and Commercial Bank
That conference led to a broad exchange of views on current and past developments of the
relationship between contemporary China, Belgium and Europe.
The reader will find the integrality of the testimony of Patrick Nothomb, the presentation of H.E.
Ambassador Liao Liqiang and the closing words of H.E. Minister Vanackere.
The text of the key note speech and of the discussants as well as a summary of the intense Q&A
session which took place during the conference are available in the second half of the brochure.
We wish the reader an interesting moment.
(Photo credit: Augapfel1, Flickr)