On June 23rd, 2015, Beijing under the direction of Chinese President Xi Jinping and King of the Belgians Filip Leopold Lodewijk Maria (Philippe Léopold Louis Marie), Limburg became Guangdong’s 40th sister province after two the two provincial govenors signed the sister province agreement.
Herman Reynders, Governor of the Province of Limburg, Belgium, paid a visit to Guangdong Province in late November, following his last visit in 2015.
“Coming to Guangdong Province feels a little bit like coming home and meeting some old friends,” Governor Reynders expressed his excitement to Newsgd.com. “Guangdong is a dynamic province with so much ambition that it surprises me every time.”
Herman Reynders, Governor of the Province of Limburg, Belgium (Photo: Steven Yuen)
Next year will mark the 5th anniversary of Guangdong-Limburg sister province relationship. How has the relationship been going over the past 4 years? What does the Governor anticipate for the ties between the two provinces in the future? Let’s see the Governor’s answers.
Both Guangdong and Limburg are facing the challenge of climate change
“The air is cleaner than it was during my last visit to Guangdong,” the Governor said. “The people and government has been working hard on environmental issues.”
In order to address environmental issues, Guangdong Government published a three-year plan (2018-2020) to reduce emissions. According to the plan, compared with 2015, the percent of days with good air quality will reach 92.5%, and the emission of SO2, NOx and VOCs will reduce by 5.4%, 3% and 18% by 2020.
Statistics show that Guangdong had shut down more than 20,000 heavy polluting enterprises as of 2018. The departments concerned have been monitoring soil and groundwater pollution.
Governor Reynders pointed out, environmental issues remain a common challenge for both Guangdong and Limburg, requiring wide ranging cooperation between the two provinces, including hydrogen energy, soil pollution and new energy vehicles.
Limburg Province promoted cleantech in Guangzhou in November, 2019. (Photo: Steven Yuen)
During the visit, he went to a hydrogen park located in Yunfu, a city in west Guangdong. “The hydrogen park ranks as the best in the world,” Governor Reynders indicated. “I am impressed by the technology and output on display.”
The Governor is inspired by the hydrogen powered buses in the park, after he tried the hydrogen powered vehicles in the park, according to Yunfu Daily. “Maybe we in Belgium are focusing too much on electric cars and overlooking hydrogen powered vehicles”.
The Greater Bay Area will make Guangdong one of the world’s top regions
In July 2019, Guangdong released a three-year action plan (2018-20) for the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, serving as the road-map for the next stage of the Greater Bay Area. The plan sets out the timetable and tasks for the province and outlines three-steps to the establishment of the GBA.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (Photo: Zhang Youqiong)
“The Greater Bay Area is going to make Guangdong one of the top regions in the world,” the Governor told Newsgd.com. “This plan also gives us more opportunities to cooperate.”
Covering 56,000 square kilometers, the Greater Bay Area consists of Hong Kong, Macao and 9 cities in Guangdong, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing.
It’s time to begin a new chapter
2020 will mark the 5th anniversary of the Guangdong-Limburg sister province relationship. After four years of development, a variety of projects have been launched between the two provinces. The exchanges between Guangdong Tourism Institute and Hotel School Hasselt are one of the good examples.
Governor Reynders visited Guangdong University of Technology in Novermber, 2019. (Photo: Steven Yuen)
“Limburg and Guangdong have been working closely over the past four years and we will upgrade our partnership over the next five years”, said Reynders.
“I’m very happy with past cooperation,” the Governor said. “We are going to celebrate the 5th anniversary next year and make a new start for the next five years.” The Governor hopes that in the future Guangdong and Limburg should not only strengthen collaboration in the fields of technology and economy, but also in sports and culture.
Authors: Steven Yuen, Wang Yifan (intern)
Editors: Simon Haywood, Hannah Zhou