Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann has met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing, where the two agreed an “innovative strategic partnership”. The aim, according to the economics ministry, is to “give an added dimension and fresh impulse” to bilateral relations.
During the visit to Beijing – part of a three-day state visit to China – seven agreements and protocols were signed. Three concern cooperation on matters of occupational safety, scientific cooperation and cooperation between Switzerland Innovation and Tsinghua University Science Park, and four concern the Sino-Swiss Low Carbon Cities (SSLCC) project, which aims to promote the sustainable growth of Chinese cities.
“We haven’t agreed any projects, but we have established in which direction things must go,” Schneider-Ammann said on Friday.
With the establishment of an “innovative strategic partnership”, Switzerland joins some 60 states with which China has entered into such partnerships.
In addition to ways of consolidating the partnership, the talks between the two presidents covered economic, financial, trade and science policy issues, as well as the rule of law, according to the economics ministry in a statement.
The two presidents also addressed the subject of human rights. The economics ministry said Xi Jinping had given assurance of his support regarding the approval of new visa application centres and the opening of a consulate general in Chengdu.
On Saturday, the Swiss delegations will move on to Shanghai, where several business- and innovation-themed meetings are on the agenda, as well as a working lunch with Han Zheng, the secretary of the Shanghai Communist Party.
Schneider-Ammann will also open the new offices of the Swiss Center Shanghai (SCS) and tour the local Novartis research centre.
The trip will be rounded off with an event at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), where Schneider-Ammann will address business representatives and alumni on the subject of scientific cooperation and innovation.
swissinfo.ch and agencies