BEIJING - State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation on bilateral relations and cooperation with Ignazio Cassis, vice-president and foreign minister of the Swiss Confederation on Nov 27.
Wang said that Switzerland is among the first Western countries to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and over the past 70 years and more, China-Switzerland relations have maintained sound development and accumulated rewarding experience.
First, the two countries respect each other, treat each other as equals, respect their differences, and learn from each other for common improvement, Wang said.
Second, with pioneering and innovative spirit, the two countries have created many "firsts" including the establishment of "innovative strategic partnership," providing a strong engine for the development of bilateral relations.
Third, the two sides have pooled their respective strengths to deepen practical cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, so as to bring tangible benefits to the two peoples, he added.
From January to September, Wang said, with the two sides managing to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, their bilateral trade has increased by more than 70 percent year-on-year, showing the resilience and vitality of China-Switzerland relations and the important role of the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement.
Wang said China and Switzerland have supported each other in the fight against the pandemic, and the national flags of the two countries on the Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland and the Yulong Snow Mountain in China have sent a signal of unity.
Switzerland is the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) , he said, and China is ready to work with Switzerland to support the WHO in playing its due role and contribute to the equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.
Noting that Switzerland is a strong country in winter sports, Wang said China is willing to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in venue construction and personnel training, so as to enrich China-Switzerland relations and jointly promote the development of winter sports.
Switzerland is also the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, and both sides should jointly resist attempts to politicize sports, and should provide a healthy environment for international events, he stressed.
Cassis agreed with what Wang said. He emphasized that Switzerland and China have a sound and close relationship, thanks to their mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual appreciation.
The innovative strategic partnership between the two countries, Cassis said, has further highlighted the innovation-oriented spirit of both sides.
The Swiss side congratulated China on its great achievements in fighting the pandemic, thanked China for providing support and cooperation to Switzerland, and lauded China's important role in promoting global economic recovery, he said.
Switzerland opposes the politicization of sports, he said, extending congratulations on the smooth progress of the preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics and expressing the belief that the Olympics will be a success.
The two sides have agreed to start negotiations on the upgrade of the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible. They also exchanged views on multilateralism.
Wang said that both China and Switzerland are supporters of globalization and advocates for multilateralism.
China appreciates Switzerland's constructive role in promoting political settlement of international disputes, Wang said, adding that China and Switzerland should work together to practice true multilateralism.
The two sides should jointly safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core, the international order based on international law, the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization at its core, Wang said.
Cassis agreed with Wang's remarks, saying that against the backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions, Switzerland believes that the world should firmly support and promote multilateralism, and support the WHO and other international organizations in playing their due roles.
Wang noted that Cassis recently said his country is always ready to play the role of a bridge-builder in international affairs, adding that this is a reflection of Switzerland's unique advantage and special influence, which China appreciates.
He said China hopes that Switzerland can serve as a bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations, between developed and developing countries, and especially between Europe and China.
This bridge, Wang said, should be built on multilateralism, with international laws and regulations as its pillar as well as equity and justice as its passport, so that it can stand firm and long, and get more support from the international community and become more popular.
Cassis also said that this telephone conversation with Wang has been rich in content, and hopes that he can meet with Wang face to face as soon as possible, and continue the strategic dialogue process between the two countries.