BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang met with visiting Swiss President Ueli Maurer on Thursday respectively, and pledged to boost cooperation between the two countries in an all-around way.
During his meeting with Maurer, Xi said the China-Switzerland relationship has been in the vanguard of ties between China and the West. He said Switzerland was not only one of the first western countries that recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC), but also the first continental European country that signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with China.
The two countries signed the agreement on July 6 in Beijing after two years of negotiations and legal processes.
Xi also briefed Maurer on China's push to achieve its "two 100-year" goals.
As 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the first goal is to double the country's gross domestic product and per capita income of its urban and rural residents by 2020 from those in 2010.
The second goal is to turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century, when the PRC celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Xi said to achieve those goals, China needs to rely on not only the Chinese people's diligence and innovation, but also the country's adherence to reform and opening-up, peaceful development and cooperation with other nations.
China's sustained growth will yield more opportunities for cooperation between the two countries, said the Chinese leader, highlighting investment, environmental protection, urbanization and other sectors.
He also proposed the two countries increase communication in international affairs to flesh out the bilateral relationship.
"We believe that China-Switzerland ties will advance in a sustained way and become an example of friendly state-to-state cooperation," Xi told the Swiss president.
Maurer is in China to attend a global ecological forum to be held from Friday to Sunday in Guiyang, capital city of southwest China's mountainous Guizhou Province.
Xi said he is looking forward to more exchanges and closer cooperation between the two countries on ecological progress and development in mountain areas.
Maurer praised China's economic achievements and said the Swiss side attaches great importance to the Asian country's role in the world.
The stability and development of China makes a great contribution to promoting world peace and sustainable development, said the Swiss president.
Maurer said the two nations, both regarding diligence and innovation as driving forces for economic development, have immense potential for cooperation.
The signing of the FTA is of great significance to step up the bilateral relationship, Maurer said, adding that the Swiss side is expecting more interaction, deeper mutual understanding and trust, and more extensive cooperation with China as good partners.
China is now Switzerland's largest trading partner in Asia, while Switzerland is China's eighth-largest trading partner in Europe.
Statistics show that bilateral trade volume between China and Switzerland reached 26.31 billion U.S. dollars in 2012. The figure for the first five months of this year surged to 22.89 billion U.S. dollars, 114.2 percent higher than the same period last year.
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