Brussels (People’s Daily) – “They cannot turn against the Chinese people. That’s very important and they don’t turn against Chinese people. We have to fight together against the virus,” said Annick De Ridder, Vice Mayor of Antwerp, Belgium to People’s Daily in a recent interview.
Annick De Ridder, Vice Mayor of Antwerp, Belgium (Photo: Ren Yan/People's Daily)
When talking about the coronavirus epidemic in China, she felt empathy for the Chinese people and supported China. “Our hearts are with you and we support you.'
Ridder spoke highly of China's effective control measures to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, and called on local people to look at the epidemic in a scientific manner, not to overreact, and not to make any irresponsible anti-Chinese remarks or insult China.
Also as Chairperson of the Port Authority of Antwerp, Ridder expressed her confidence in the Chinese economy outlook and willingness to deepen cooperation with Chinese companies. “In a short term, the Chinese economy may be hit by the spread of the virus, but in the long term, the epidemic cannot affect the Chinese economy much.”
The port of Antwerp is Europe’s second largest port and the 17th largest in the world. It handles about 209 million tons of cargo annually. Within the cooperation framework of Belt and Road Initiative in the last few years, the port attracted some Chinese companies like COSCO Shipping, the world’s biggest maritime company and third-largest international container transporter, to invest in the port.
Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, the port is forging closer links with China and getting more competitive in the world, Luc Arnouts, director of international networks of the port, said. “This is enriching the choice for supply chain management with maritime, rail or air, as at the Port of Antwerp we can offer all possibilities.”