Dutch PM lauds organization work of Beijing Olympics
Source: Xinhua | 10-22-2008 09:00Special Report: 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
BRUSSELS, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- China organized an "excellent" Olympic Games and the event has contributed to better understanding between the two countries, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told Xinhua on Tuesday.
"I would like to congratulate the Chinese people with the excellent organization of the Beijing Olympics," Balkenende said in a written interview on the eve of a seven-day visit to China.
"I thoroughly enjoyed attending the spectacular opening ceremony," said Balkenende, who was one of the heads of states or governments who attended the Olympic opening ceremony on August 8.
Having watched sportsmen and women from all over the world compete, Balkenende said he was impressed by the achievements of Chinese athletes.
"The Olympic Games put China in the spotlight in the Dutch media, and the Dutch public learned a lot more about your country," he said.
Comparing what he saw during his two previous trips to China, in 2004 and in August this year, Balkenende said "the Chinese people can be proud of what they have achieved in recent years. Through its economic growth, China has changed considerably."
The successful Olympic Games have given Beijing many new and modern landmarks, such as the "Birds Nest" and the CCTV building, which was designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, Balkenende said.
"But many challenges still remain, especially in rural areas," he said. "I hope that with our bilateral cooperation, the Netherlands can assist your country in meeting those challenges."
During his visit to China, Balkenende will attend and address the seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, scheduled later this week in Beijing, and engage in bilateral meetings with Chinese leaders.