China and the Netherlands decided on Sunday to build a comprehensive partnership that stresses openness and pragmatism, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries. The decision was made at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The consensus to forge such a partnership is rooted in a bid to upgrade bilateral cooperation and China's relations with a wider Europe. Xi recalled the prime minister's visit to China last year, during which the two leaders had in-depth and fruitful discussion. In his proposals for the development of China-Netherlands relations, Xi called for continued high-level exchanges, mutual respect and trust as well as the respect of each other's core interests and major concerns. Both countries should pay more attention to the fundamental role of agriculture and water conservancy in bilateral cooperation, with priorities on the fields of dairy, breeding, flood control, training, food security and technological research and development. China welcomes the Netherlands to increase its dairy exports to China, Xi added. China also hopes the Netherlands will take part in the construction of the Shanghai free trade zone, while China has decided to build a Chinese culture center in the Netherlands. Xi invited the Netherlands to participate in China's industrialization, urbanization, informationization, and agricultural modernization. He called for new cooperation in the fields such as energy conservation and environmental protection, new energy, sustainable urban development and financial services. During the meeting, Xi called on both sides to uphold mutual openness and free trade and jointly oppose protectionism. The Chinese side expects the Dutch side to provide further convenience for the investment by Chinese enterprises in the Netherlands. Xi urged the Dutch side to play a positive role in the European Union (EU) for an early conclusion of negotiations toward a China-EU investment agreement, the launching of a joint feasibility study for China-Europe free trade zone, and a proper solution to the trade friction on wireless communication products between China and the EU. For his part, Rutte said Xi's visit to the Netherlands has brought bilateral relations to a higher level, which will help deepen cooperation between the two countries. The Dutch side is willing to maintain close contacts with the Chinese side, expand trade and investment, and enhance cooperation in the fields of scientific research, food security, social security, environmental protection and the service industry. The Netherlands will open a consulate general in the Chinese city of Chongqing, which will boost the exchanges and cooperation between the Netherlands and the central and west areas of China, Rutte said. The Netherlands advocates free trade and will continue to work within the EU to push forward Europe-China cooperation. Rutte expressed his condolences over the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which mysteriously disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8, with 239 people, including 154 Chinese passengers, on board. Xi said China will not give up the search and rescue operation as long as there is a glimpse of hope. The two leaders also exchanged views on nuclear security and expressed willingness to work with other parties for a successful Nuclear Security Summit, which will be held in the Hague on March 24-25. They witnessed the signing of a series of documents on the cooperation in energy, agriculture, trade and culture.