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Swiss to strengthen military ties with China

Swiss Defence Minister Ueli Maurer discussed increasing military cooperation with his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie at a meeting in Beijing on Thursday.

The atmosphere at the meeting was “harmonious” and “friendly”, defence ministry spokesman Jean-Blaise Defago told the Swiss News Agency.

He said China regarded Switzerland as an interesting partner because of its neutrality.

The ministers agreed to conduct a regular exchange of opinions “at the highest level”.

Greater cooperation is being sought in particular over logistics and computer software for army purposes.

Maurer also visited the China Earthquake Emergency Rescue Training Base in Beijing, where rescue workers are trained to deal with natural disasters. Switzerland would like to provide more help in such training.

A statement from the Swiss defence ministry ahead of the visit said the two countries had a long tradition of cooperation over military training and disaster management.

Maurer is on a week-long trip to Asia. He has already visited South Korea.

He is due to go on from Beijing to Shanghai, where he will attend the opening ceremony of the 14th international swimming championships and meet the director of the state sports administration, Liu Peng. Maurer’s ministry includes responsibility for sport and civil protection as well as defence. and agencies

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