China-Sweden relations continue to strengthen

Updated: 2007-06-11 10:50

BEIJING -- At the invitation of Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, Chinese President Hu Jintao is paying a state visit to Sweden from June 8-10. Following is a backgrounder of China-Sweden relations.

Though they lie on eastern tip of Asia and the western tip of Europe respectively, China and Sweden enjoy a long-lasting friendship. More than 200 years ago, the Swedish merchant ship "Gotheborg" visited China and brought Chinese silk, porcelain and other goods back to Sweden, which became luxuries there.

Sweden was the first western country to establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China on May 9, 1950. Since then, Sino-Swedish relations have developed steadily. Bilateral exchange and cooperation at various levels in the fields of politics, economy and culture have increased constantly and achieved remarkable results.

During the 1950s, Sweden consistently supported the restoration of China's legitimate seat in the United Nations.

In 1996, Sweden opened a Consulate General in Shanghai and in the following year China set up a Consulate General in Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden. In 1998 and 2005, the Swedish government issued its Asian strategies and Asian policies documents separately, including contents to further promote relations with China.

In recent years, senior officials in both governments have strengthened mutual visits and exchanges. In October 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with then Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson on the sidelines of the fifth Asian-European Summit in Hanoi.

Swedish King Carl XVI and Queen Silvia made a state visit to China in 2006, their first visit to China in 25 years, which is believed to have further boosted mutual political trust and understanding between the two countries.

China and Sweden share a common interest in many major international affairs and their economic and technological cooperation is highly complementary.

The trade volume between the two countries reached 6.73 billion U.S. dollars in 2006. Sweden is now China's ninth-largest trading partner in the European Union and China has been Sweden's largest trade partner in Asia for four successive years.

The two countries' mutual investments totaled 2.14 billion U.S. dollars last year. Attracted by the lucrative Chinese market, every four days a small or medium-sized enterprise from Sweden enters China.

Exchanges and cooperation between China and Sweden in the fields of science and technology, culture, education, tourism and environmental protection have also been active and fruitful.

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