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Interview: Premier Wen's visit highlights good Swiss-China ties: envoy
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07:08, January 24, 2009

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Switzerland highlights the good quality of relations between the two countries, former Swiss ambassador to China Dante Martinelli has said.

The two countries have maintained solid and "very good" relations, Martinelli, who is now ambassador to the U.N. Office in Geneva, told Xinhua in an interview.

Wen is scheduled to arrive in Switzerland next Tuesday for an official working visit. He will also attend the World Economic Forum 2009 annual meeting in the country's famous skiing resort Davos.

During Wen's visit to Switzerland, his first as Chinese premier, the two countries are expected to sign an accord on promoting and protecting investment to each other, Martinelli said.

Switzerland was among the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with China, the ambassador said. The past five decades and more have witnessed the steady growth of Swiss-China relations.

The start of China's reform and opening-up 30 years ago has enabled bilateral cooperation to gain further momentum in in economic, political, scientific and technological and cultural areas, he said.

China is currently Switzerland's largest Asian trade partner, as it has attracted large amounts of investment from Swiss companies.

There has been an increasing number of high level visits between the two countries, an indication that Switzerland is committed to sustainable development of its ties with China, he said.

Martinelli said the two countries have an institutional framework for cooperation in many fields such as economy, science and technology, education, health and tourism. He also noted their economies are complementary to each other.

He expressed his country's desire for a free trade agreement with China.

Source: Xinhua

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