China, Switzerland agree to boost ties, oppose protectionism

World Today

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan enjoy tea and conversation with Swiss President Doris Leuthard and her husband Roland Hausin in a special train on their way to Bern, capital of Switzerland, Jan. 15, 2017. After the welcome ceremony at the Zurich airport, Xi traveled to the Swiss capital of Bern by a special train of the Swiss government. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

China and Switzerland on Monday pledged to better develop their innovative strategic partnership and jointly oppose trade protectionism.

During talks between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard, the two countries also agreed to align their respective development strategies and strengthen cooperation in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China.

At a Sunday ceremony held at the Federal Palace in the historical Old Town of Bern by the seven members of the Swiss Federal Council, Xi said he is looking forward to consolidating friendship and boosting cooperation between China and Switzerland.

“My visit is aimed at consolidating our friendship, boosting our cooperation and promoting peace and development together with the Swiss side,” he said.

“I am looking forward to having talks with the Swiss side on deepening our pragmatic cooperation in various areas and enriching the meaning of our innovative strategic partnership,” Xi added.

During the trip, the president is also scheduled to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the ski resort of Davos, and visit the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee.

Xi will deliver a keynote speech at the Davos meeting on Monday and another one at the UNOG the day after. Xi will be the first Chinese head of state to attend the WEF.

“I hope to, through attending the WEF annual meeting and visiting the international organizations, gather consensus with all sides on maintaining world peace, promoting common development and settling major global issues under the current situation, thus delivering positive energies to the international community,” the president said.

At the welcome ceremony, Swiss President Doris Leuthard said her country is a trustworthy partner for China.

She also said the Swiss side is willing to discuss cooperation with China in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthening communication and coordination within the UN and other multilateral organizations.

The Swiss leader also extended festival greetings to Xi and the Chinese people on the upcoming traditional Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 28 this year.

Earlier on Sunday when the Chinese president’s plane touched down at the Zurich airport, Leuthard, along with her husband Roland Hausin, held a red-carpet welcome ceremony for Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan.

Accompanied by Leuthard, Xi traveled to Bern by a special train of the Swiss government. The two leaders had a brief talk while enjoying tea on the way to the capital.

China and Switzerland have enjoyed long-term exchanges and cooperation. In 1950, Switzerland became one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with the newly-founded People’s Republic of China. At the start of this century, Switzerland was among the first European countries to recognize China’s full market economy status.

In recent years, Switzerland became the first continental European country to conclude and implement a free trade agreement with China.

Story by Xinhua

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