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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 12:19, March 01, 2006
Switzerland to intensify and institutionalize strategic dialogue with China: Interview
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Photo:Mr. Samuel Schmid, Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of Switzerland
Mr. Samuel Schmid, Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of Switzerland
Mr. Samuel Schmid, Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports of Switzerland, emphasized on the importance of maintaining intensified and institutionalized "strategic dialogue or discussion" between Switzerland and China in reply to an interview with People's Daily Online in the Swiss Embassy in Beijing.

Replying to the question of "How do you assess the exchanges and cooperation with China with regard to defense affairs in the future?", Mr. Samuel Schmid stressed that Switzerland and China have already conducted frequent and well-coordinated cooperation in such fields as national defense, security policies, economic development and military officer training. The two countries have also conducted exchanges and dialogue on the human rights issue. Switzerland is willing to intensify and broaden such cooperation with China in every field, and would like to institutionalize such strategic discussions on a regular basis, presumably once in every one or two years.

When asked by People's Daily Online on the role played by China in the six-party talks on the Korean Nuclear Issue, Mr. Samuel Schmid commented favorably on China's huge efforts to keep the six-party talks moving forward, which were at times full of difficulties. He expressed his hope that the six-party talks can be resumed through the efforts by such countries as China.

As Mr. Samuel Schmid is the chief Swiss official responsible for sports affairs, People's Daily Online also asked him for an assessment of China's preparatory efforts for the 2008 Olympics, as well as his expectations for this major event in Beijing. Mr. Samuel Schmid replied that he "firmly believes China will be a very nice host of the 2008 Olympics" and that China will make the Games a wonderful event through elaborate preparations. He also says Switzerland feels honored to have won a bidding effort for a major Olympics project in Beijing. The Federal Councillor also exhibited a typical Swiss sense of humor by predicting that "although Switzerland runs ahead of China in Turin Winter Olympics, China will surely rank before us during the next Olympics".

Having paid two visits to China up to now --- with the first visit coinciding with the 2003 SARS outbreak --- Mr. Samuel Schmid was "deeply impressed" to witness the tremendous changes that have taken place in China during the interval. The overall living standards of the Chinese people have been greatly enhanced, and China's progress is evident in almost every aspect. During his visit to Shanghai, Mr. Samuel Schmid has seen a large number of investments and signs of innovation. This prosperous metropolis has also left him with a deep impression. What is more noteworthy is that he feels the Chinese leaders are fully aware of the concomitant problems that have arisen together with the swift social and economic development of the country. He can feel the determination and awareness of the Chinese leadership to lead the whole nation to fulfill the goal of all-round well-off society. The prospects for China's development, he believes, are very nice.

Mr. Samuel Schmid reiterated the official stance that Switzerland will stick to the "One-China Policy". He also expressed his regret over recent signs of escalating tension across the Taiwan Straits, owing to Taiwan authorities' abrupt abolition of the National Unification Council.

Mr. Samuel Schmid also mentioned that, in a conference held last year, it was stated that China should become one of the focal points for strategic cooperation for Switzerland. To him, such a prospect is already unfolding.

By People's Daily Staff Writer Liu Chao

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