Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) shakes hands with his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard in Bern, Switzerland, Jan. 16, 2017. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
China and Switzerland on Monday pledged to better develop their innovative strategic partnership and jointly oppose trade protectionism. [Special coverage]
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.
MODEL OF COOPERATION
"The China-Switzerland relations have become a model of friendship and cooperation between countries that are different in social system, development stage and size," Xi said.
"We are willing to work with the Swiss side for an even better development of our ties," he said.
The president proposed that the two countries enhance cooperation and exchanges in a wide range of areas, including politics, trade, finance, digitalization, intelligent manufacturing, industrial capacity, culture and education.
Xi extended appreciation to the Swiss side over its participation in the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and its support for the Belt and Road Initiative, which is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
The president said that China stands ready to discuss cooperation with Switzerland in infrastructure construction, insurance and other areas to jointly promote the initiative.
For her part, Leuthard said the two countries have maintained sound relations since they forged diplomatic ties and have similar views on many issues concerning international peace and development.
The Swiss side is willing to deepen cooperation with China in such areas as economy, trade, finance, innovation, culture and tourism.
The two leaders agreed to strengthen the alignment of "Made in China 2025" and Switzerland's Industry 4.0 strategies, and push for the upgrading of their bilateral free trade agreement that entered into force on July 1, 2014.
The two sides have also decided to jointly launch a China-Switzerland Year of Tourism in 2017, and enhance cooperation in winter sports by taking the opportunity of China hosting the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
China and Switzerland hold the same or similar position on opposing trade protectionism and settling international disputes in a peaceful manner, according to the leaders of both countries.
"The two sides should increase communication and coordination in international and regional issues, safeguard the process of global free trade, jointly oppose trade protectionism, and contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," Xi said.
Leuthard echoed Xi's remarks by saying that the Swiss side is willing to make joint efforts with China to maintain world peace and stability, safeguard an open global trade, and oppose protectionism in trade and investment.
The two sides agreed to work together to protect the open and inclusive global trade regime, and push for a more just and equitable global governance system.
After their talks, Xi and Leuthard witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements between the two countries, covering diplomacy, free trade, energy, customs, intellectual property rights, culture, education, sports and others.
The Chinese president arrived in Switzerland on Sunday to pay a state visit to the Alpine country and attend the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
It is the first state visit to the European country by a Chinese president in the 21st century. And meanwhile, Xi will become the first Chinese head of state to attend the Davos meeting.
After Bern, Xi will travel to the ski resort of Davos to attend the WEF annual meeting, which comes as economic globalization is being faced with headwinds and dented by rising populism and trade protectionism.
He will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on Tuesday to share the views of the world's second largest economy on charting the course for globalization to make it more inclusive and beneficial to all and on revitalizing global economic growth.
The president will also travel to Geneva and Lausanne to visit the United Nations Office at Geneva and the headquarters of the World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee.