China backs away from snubbing Swiss president

The Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, has reportedly agreed to meet the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, when he visits Beijing in September. China had hinted that Ogi would not be given an audience following Jiang's controversial visit to Berne last year.

This content was published on July 24, 2000 - 14:45

A spokesman for the defence ministry in Berne confirmed that the two presidents would meet during Ogi's visit, which will mark the 50th anniversary of Swiss diplomatic relations with China.

Ogi had threatened to cancel his trip unless he was granted an audience with Jiang.

China held out the prospect of a diplomatic snub following a controversial visit to Berne in 1999 by the Chinese president.

Jiang was angered by a rooftop demonstration by pro-Tibetan demonstrators as he arrived at the Swiss parliament in Berne. In response, he told the Swiss government that Switzerland had lost a friend.

At the time, Ogi tried to pacify the president and play down the diplomatic incident.

swissinfo with agencies.

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