President Xi starts Swiss visit, focuses on four targets
Updated 10:34, 28-Jun-2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Zurich on Sunday for a four-day visit to Switzerland. He was welcomed at the city's airport with a grand ceremony hosted by Doris Leuthard, President of the S‍wiss Federal Council.
President Xi is expected to hold meetings with Swiss leaders during his visit, exchanging views on bilateral relations as well as issues with common concerns. 
Xi also hopes his trip can strengthen traditional friendships, expand practical cooperation, enrich the innovative strategic partnership with Switzerland, and push ties to a higher level.
Xi will attend the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos on Tuesday, and visit offices of the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Switzerland. /CGTN Screenshot

Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Switzerland. /CGTN Screenshot

Why has Xi chosen Switzerland as the destination for his first state visit this year? What signals will his appearance in Davos send? What results can be expected? These are the four targets for Xi's visit:

I. To drive the progress of China-Europe relations through fruitful China-Switzerland cooperation

Xi’s state visit to Switzerland is the first by a Chinese head of state in the 21st century. His trip comes less than a year after Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann paid a state visit to China, during which an innovative strategic partnership was established. During Xi's visit to the alpine nation, he will witness the signing of a number of cooperative agreements, further enriching the innovative strategic partnership.
The progress of China-Switzerland cooperation is expected to be a model for cooperation between China and Europe. Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and relations between the two countries have always been the spearhead of China's relations with Western countries in Europe and around the world.
The close economic ties between China and Switzerland will facilitate free trade agreement negotiations and deepen cooperation on investment between China and Europe, said Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Studies of Renmin University of China.

II. To find solutions to global economic problems and push for recovery during WEF appearance

Xi's appearance in Davos on January 17 will be the first by a Chinese president at the annual WEF gathering. As people around the globe continue to feel anxious about their economic prospects, China's views and actions draw tremendous attention and interest.
"As I make my first trip to Davos for the WEF Annual Meeting, I look forward to candid and in-depth exchanges with the participants," Xi wrote in a signed article published in Swiss media before the visit. "It is a good opportunity to boost confidence in rising to challenges and re-energize world economic growth."
Xi will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the annual meeting on January 17 and exchange ideas with Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, and other participants.
According to Li Baodong, vice foreign minister of China, Xi will analyze and explore the deep-rooted causes of the world economic growth dilemma and seek the path the world economy can take to walk out of its predicament. He will also expound China's views and proposals on economic globalization and actively guide the process of economic globalization towards a more inclusive and mutually beneficial direction. Furthermore, Xi will elaborate on China's achievements and development experiences since its reform and opening up by drawing the international community's attention to China's economic hotspots. He will also outline China's current economic situation, policies and measures so as to enhance the objective and in-depth understanding of all sides of the country's economy.

III. To elaborate the idea of 'a community of shared future for mankind' at the UN Office at Geneva

Invited by António Guterres, the new UN secretary general, Xi will visit the UN Office at Geneva on January 18. Geneva was the site of the People's Republic of China's debut at the multilateral diplomatic stage of governments in 1954, as the then premier Zhou Enlai led a delegation to attend the Geneva Conference.
The United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. /CGTN Photo

The United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. /CGTN Photo

Speaking of the upcoming visit to the UN, Xi wrote in his signed article: "I will visit the United Nations Office at Geneva with the following goals in mind: reviewing our shared historical journey, championing the widely accepted principles of diplomacy, exploring ways to realize the vision of building a community of shared future for mankind, and seeking ideas on how we can make the world a better place."
The idea of "a community of shared future for mankind" is a core innovation in China's diplomacy, which Xi has reiterated on a number of diplomatic occasions. On January 18, he will elaborate the idea in the Palace of Nations, providing a Chinese solution to important issues concerning the future and destiny of mankind.

IV. To spearhead cooperation in global governance on his first visits to the WHO and the IOC

Xi will also visit the WHO and the IOC on January 18, the first trips to the international organizations by a Chinese head of state. In Geneva, he will meet with WHO Director General Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and the WHO to promote cooperation in the area of health.
In Lausanne, Xi will meet with IOC President Thomas Bach and visit the Olympic Museum. As Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics in 2022, Xi's visit to the IOC will show China's support for the Olympic Movement.
Xi's visit to Switzerland will be a combination of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, promoting political, economic, cultural, health and sports cooperation. "The visit will reflect China's deepening understanding of global governance and growing willingness to spearhead cooperation," said Cui Hongjian, director of the European Studies of China Institute of International Studies. "The national image of China will also be enriched in the process."
(Translated from reports by CCTV and People's Daily)