Interior minister starts Chinese visit

Energy sources and educational ties have dominated discussions between Switzerland and China in the first two days of a visit by the Swiss interior minister.

This content was published on April 22, 2011 - 12:39 and agencies

Didier Burkhalter arrived in China on Thursday for an official visit, and has since met with representatives of universities and the scientific community.

Talks touched on the challenges facing both countries in the field of renewable energy. Switzerland is more reliant on nuclear power – 40 per cent of its power consumption is nuclear generated, compared with two per cent in China.

Coal is the main power source in China, but Beijing is searching for alternatives as it is a major pollutant.

Burkhalter was accompanied by the heads of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne, who are seeking greater collaboration with the Chinese academic world. The Zurich university wants to expand on its exchange programme with the three top universities in Shanghai, while Lausanne wants to create a joint chair with Shanghai.

A ministry spokesman commented that Burkhalter’s presence this week could help facilitate such links.

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