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Belt and Road Initiative to contribute to poverty reduction: Swiss President

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-07 10:26

Speaking of the relations between Switzerland and China, Leuthard said that they were characterized by "friendship and mutual respect."

The state visit of China's President Xi Jinping in January this year, she said, underscored the quality of bilateral relations, while highlighting that despite numerous differences "in terms of size, economic model and political system, healthy relations and successful cooperation is both possible and necessary".

Switzerland has always shown a pioneering and innovative spirit when it comes to its relations with China.

The confederation was one of the first Western countries to recognize the People's Republic of China in 1950, and among the first European countries to recognize China's market economy status, Leuthard said.

Switzerland was also the first nation in continental Europe to establish a free-trade agreement with Asia's economic powerhouse.

Today, China is Switzerland's top trading partner in Asia, and its third biggest after the European Union and the United States.

"This pioneering character is indeed an important feature of the bilateral relations between our countries, and Switzerland counts on consolidating and pursuing these good relations," the Swiss president said.

Switzerland and China are working together on a series of projects in areas of common interest such as culture, research and education, the environment and energy, finance, intellectual property and human rights.

Over 20 bilateral mechanisms of dialogue and cooperation are currently in force between Berne and Beijing.

"This highlights the maturity of our relationship and the trust that our governments have fostered. This is further reflected by the numerous high-level visits in both Switzerland and China," she added.

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