Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

China and Switzerland review half a century of ties

All smiles: Adolf Ogi (right) and the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin Keystone

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has held talks in Beijing with the Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, focusing on the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

At the meeting on Wednesday, both leaders praised the long-standing relationship between China and Switzerland.

Their talks effectively ended a diplomatic row, sparked last year when a group of pro-Tibetan demonstrators held a protest close to Jiang’s entourage during a visit to Berne.

Jiang reminded Ogi of the incident at the start of their meeting in Beijing, but indicated the issue was now resolved. A spokesman for Ogi said the talks were held in a relaxed atmosphere.

After the meeting, Ogi was attending official celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Sino-Swiss diplomatic relations. Switzerland was one of the first countries to recognise China after the communist revolution

Ogi held separate meetings with the Chinese prime minister, Zhu Rongji, and the defence minister, Chi Haotian, on Tuesday.

Zhu told the Swiss president of China’s desire to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Switzerland has yet to approve Chinese membership of the WTO, but Swiss officials in Beijing said there had been discussions about outstanding problems and there would be further talks on the remaining issues in the second half of this month.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR