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Ogi holds talks with Chinese leaders

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has been holding talks with Chinese leaders during a three-day visit to celebrate 50 years of Swiss-Sino relations.

This content was published on September 12, 2000 - 12:51

Ogi held separate meetings with the Chinese prime minister, Zhu Rongji, and the defence minister, Chi Haotian. Details of their discussions have not been released, but Ogi is expected to raise the issue of human rights, and China's application to join the World Trade Organisation, during his trip.

He is scheduled to meet the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, on Wednesday.
The primary reason for Ogi's visit is to take part in a ceremony marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Switzerland was one of the first countries to recognise China after the communist revolution.

The Swiss president has been urged by activists in Switzerland to confront Chinese leaders over Tibet. Switzerland has the largest number of exiled Tibetans of any non-Asian country.

The issue has already led to a diplomatic row between Berne and Beijing. Last year, on a visit to Switzerland, Jiang Zemin was offended by a pro-Tibetan demonstration in Berne. At the time, Jiang said Switzerland had "lost a good friend".

The political fall-out from that visit led Beijing to hint that Jiang might not personally receive Ogi during his visit to China. Ogi responded by saying he would not go ahead with his trip unless he was assured an audience with the president.

Beijing subsequently agreed that a meeting would take place.

The Swiss president is accompanied on his visit by the state secretary at the economics ministry, David Syz, as well as a delegation of businessmen.

His visit also coincides with the Switzerland 2000 exhibition in Shanghai later this week.

From China Ogi will fly to Sydney to be present at the opening of the Olympic Games on Friday.

swissinfo with agencies

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