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Xi leads delegation to Switzerland

By ZHANG YUNBI,AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-16 06:27

Xi leads delegation to Switzerland

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan are welcomed at the Federal Assembly in Bern, Switzerland, on Jan 15, 2017. [Photo by Lan Hongguang/Xinhua] 

President Xi Jinping arrived in Switzerland on Sunday for his first state visit to the country and his first meeting of the World Economic Forum, a major annual gathering of global political and corporate leaders.

Xi will offer China's vision on domestic economic growth and a global economy overshadowed by protectionism, diplomats and experts said. The president leads a large delegation of senior officials and Chinese business leaders.

Upon arrival at the Zurich airport, Xi said he hopes to inject a positive impetus for the recovery of the world economy.

He said he will "make joint efforts with other relevant parties to explore long-term measures for the world's development, establish a community of common destiny for mankind and safeguard international peace and stability".

Swiss President Doris Leuthard threw a grand welcoming ceremony at the airport for the Chinese leader.

After the ceremony, Xi and Leuthard boarded a train to Bern. The two presidents had a 40-minute talk over tea during the journey of one and half hours.

The Chinese president is on a four-day trip to Switzerland, from Sunday to Wednesday, including the state visit, the Davos forum and visits to some Geneva-based international organizations.

As part of his state visit, Xi will have a formal meeting with Leuthard and they will jointly attend a signing ceremony for cooperative agreements and meet the press, according to Vice-Foreign Minister Li Baodong.

The agreements include free trade, energy, culture, sports and customs, and they are evidence of the shared commitment to "championing a global trade system of openness and inclusiveness", Li said at a news briefing on Wednesday.

Switzerland was the first country in continental Europe to conclude and implement a free trade agreement with China.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, said closer two-way ties will give a boost to further free trade agreement negotiations between China and Europe.

Xi is scheduled to attend the Davos meeting on Tuesday and deliver a keynote speech there.

Chinese corporate leaders attending the forum include Jack Ma, chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and Wang Jianlin, chairman of Wanda Group, the commercial property giant.

Cui Hongjian, director of the European Department at the China Institute of International Studies, said Xi's trip to Switzerland is a demonstration of China's evolving solution for global governance.

Xi's attendance at Davos will help China and other developing countries "gain more institutionalized rights" in the existing global economic order, Cui said.

Chen Fengying, a senior researcher on world economy at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Xi's speech will help draw attention to China's solution for unbalanced world development, sustainable development and anti-globalization moves.

During his stay in Switzerland, Xi also will visit the offices of the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office at Geneva and the International Olympic Committee.

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