On November 27, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Vice President and Foreign Minister of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis.
Wang Yi said, Switzerland is the first Western country to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with New China. Over the past 70-odd years, China-Switzerland relations have always maintained sound development, and accumulated useful experience. First, respect each other, treat each other as equals, respect each other's differences, learn from each other and improve together. Second, take pioneering steps and make innovations, achieve a number of "firsts" and initiate innovative strategic partnership, providing strong engines for the development of China-Switzerland relations. Third, pursue mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, integrate respective strengths and deepen practical cooperation, delivering tangible benefits to people of the two countries. In the first nine months of this year, China and Switzerland overcame the impact of the pandemic, achieving an over 70 percent year-on-year growth in bilateral trade, which demonstrates the resilience and vitality of bilateral relations and the significance of the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement.
Wang Yi said, China and Switzerland have supported each other and overcome difficulties together in the fight against the pandemic. China's and Switzerland's national flags on the Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland and the Yulong Snow Mountain in China echo each other from afar, sending the signal of solidarity. Switzerland is home to the World Health Organization (WHO). China is willing to work with Switzerland to support the due role of the WHO, and jointly contribute to equitable distribution of vaccines around the globe.
Wang Yi said, Switzerland does well in winter sports. China will further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Switzerland in venue construction and personnel training, so as to add new dimensions to China-Switzerland relations and jointly promote the development of winter sports. Switzerland is also home to the International Olympic Committee. Both sides need to jointly resist the attempt to politicize sports and provide a favorable environment for international competition events.
Cassis agrees with what Wang Yi said. Cassis emphasized that, Switzerland-China relations are sound and close because the two countries always respect, trust and appreciate each other. The innovative strategic partnership established by the two countries further highlights bilateral innovative and pioneering spirit. Switzerland congratulates China on its great achievements in fighting the pandemic, thanks China's support for and cooperation with Switzerland, and appreciates China's significant role in global economic recovery. Switzerland opposes politicizing sports, congratulates on the smooth progress of the preparation of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and believes the Beijing Olympics will make a success.
Both sides agree to resume the negotiation of upgrading the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement at an early date.
Both sides also had an exchange of views on multilateralism. Wang Yi said, both China and Switzerland champion globalization and multilateralism. China appreciates Switzerland's constructive role in promoting the political settlement of international disputes. China and Switzerland should make concerted efforts to practice true multilateralism, jointly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes of the UN Charter, and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core. Cassis agrees with this. He said, amid the increasing geopolitical tensions, Switzerland holds that it is all the more important to firmly uphold and carry forward multilateralism, and support the international organizations such as the WHO in playing their due roles.
Wang Yi said, Mr. Foreign Minister said recently that Switzerland is willing to play the role of "bridge builder" in international affairs, which embodies Switzerland's traditional advantages and unique influence. China applauds this. China expects Switzerland to serve as the bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations as well as developed and developing countries, especially Europe and China, the two major forces of the world. Wang Yi said, the bridge should be based on multilateralism, underpinned by international laws and regulations, and passed with fairness and justice. Only in this way can the bridge endure for a long time and win more support and welcome from the international community.
Cassis also said, I had high expectations of my visit to China. Regrettably however, I failed to visit China and co-chair the third round of China-Switzerland Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue with you as planned due to technical problems of the plane. Our telephone talks today are fruitful. I hope we can achieve face-to-face meetings as soon as possible, and continue advancing the strategic dialogue between our two countries.