xi's moments

China, Switzerland vow to expand ties

By CHEN WEIHUA | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-23 09:41

Vice-President Wang Qishan meets with Swiss President Ueli Maurer in Zurich on Monday. ENNIO LEANZA/AFP

Chinese and Swiss leaders vowed to further promote win-win cooperation across many areas of their relationship.

In a meeting on Monday with Ueli Maurer, president of the Swiss Confederation, visiting Vice-President Wang Qishan said that economic and trade relations between China and Switzerland have continued to deepen under the guidance of the nations' leaders.

Wang, who made an official visit to Switzerland on Monday and Tuesday, at Maurer's invitation, is expected to speak on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos.

Wang described the bilateral relationship as being at its best, saying that the nations' political trust has increased significantly, and friendship has become more deep-rooted.

Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to recognize and establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China after its founding in 1949. It has also been a trailblazer in Europe in conducting cooperation with China and has served as an example.

Wang said the strategic partnership in innovation the two nations established in 2016 has set a clear direction for their relationship, and they are able to achieve win-win cooperation because they are complementary in many areas, such as economy and trade, finance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and public health.

He described the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement as a good example of bilateral cooperation, adding that China looks forward to working with the Swiss to upgrade the trade deal.

Wang said the further opening of China's financial sector has provided new opportunities for cooperation. China supports its financial firms' development in Switzerland, and China welcomes Swiss firms to expand in China, he said.

Wang said he thinks the two sides can explore opportunities in areas like artificial intelligence, digitization and new energy to enrich the high-level innovation platform the nations' leaders set up.

The two countries should also improve culture and tourism collaboration to lay a solid foundation for people-to-people ties, he said.

Wang said he hoped that they would hold talks on Belt and Road Initiative agreements to achieve a fruitful result.

On Monday, Wang and Maurer attended a high-level innovation platform meeting in Zurich.

Wang called Switzerland one of the most innovative countries in the world. He said China pays great attention to innovation, seeks to build an innovation-driven economy and works to improve its legal framework, standardize market order and bolster the protection of intellectual property rights.

Wang also said the innovation meeting attended by Chinese and Swiss companies reflects the implementation of the consensus of the two countries' leaders since they launched the high-level platform in 2017.

Maurer said Switzerland and China have maintained a long-term friendly relationship characterized by frequent high-level visits and a further deepening of political trust.

He described China's development path as admirable and said Switzerland respects China's history and culture and abides by the one-China principle.

He said the BRI is conducive to cross-border trade and investment, and he looks forward to leading the Swiss delegation to the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China in April.

Maurer also said Switzerland will work with China to upgrade the bilateral free trade agreement and strengthen cooperation in areas like trade, finance, technology, digital economy, education and tourism.

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