Switzerland ready to host North Korea talks

Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Ignazio Cassis chose China for his first official visit outside of Europe, where he met his counterpart, Wang Yi in Beijing Keystone

At a meeting between the Swiss and Chinese foreign affairs ministers in Beijing on Tuesday, Ignazio Cassis discussed with his counterpart the role that Switzerland could play in meetings between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and "important partners at the international level".

This content was published on April 3, 2018 - 15:53

The meeting between Cassis and Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, aimed at discussing key trade and policy issues, is the "first strategic dialogue" in the history of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

Wang emphasised recent positive developments on the Korean peninsula and said that all parties were engaged in "sincere exchanges". 

Cassis recalled that the Korean crisis had already been the subject of negotiations in Geneva, and that Switzerland was "ready to welcome on its territory new negotiations or all meetings on the subject if the parties so wish", according to a Swiss foreign affairs ministry press releaseExternal link on Tuesday.

Citing recent visits in Switzerland by the Chinese and American presidents, he added: "Switzerland has a lot of experience in these meetings, particularly in terms of security." 

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Strategic platform

According to the press release, a strategic platform has also been implemented to reinforce relations between Switzerland and China. It will convene every two years during the World Economic Forum in Davos and will involve political and economic representatives of both countries.

"Relations between Switzerland and China are at their highest historic level," Cassis said at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

Trade and diplomacy

Other issues on the table at the meeting included working together within the United Nations on the implementation by 2030 of the global Sustainable Development Goals and the economic prospects that can be expected from the Belt and Road initiative – a new “Silk Road” aimed at boosting trade between Asia and Europe. 

Cassis emphasised that this process should respect social and environmental quality standards as well as good governance.

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The Swiss foreign affairs minister also welcomed Beijing's support of international GenevaExternal link, and congratulated China, the second-largest contributor to the United Nations, for its engagement with the organisation. 

He called for greater cooperation between the two countries in multilateral discussions, and the two minsters reaffirmed the importance of the World Trade Organization in light of the resurgence of protectionist tendencies.

First visit outside Europe

Cassis arrived in Beijing on Monday on his first official visit outside Europe. Political, economic and bilateral relations between Switzerland and China will be the focus of his talks, before he travels to Mongolia. 

In the Chinese capital on Monday, Cassis met Swiss business leaders and students living in China. He also held talks with Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, of which Switzerland is a founding member. 

He also visited the Great Wall of China, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement. 

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