Ogi in China to strengthen Swiss-Sino ties

Adolf Ogi heads for China

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, arrived in China on Tuesday for a three-day visit aimed at cementing political and economic ties.

This content was published on September 12, 2000 minutes

The first day of his visit is being dominated by talks with government leaders, including the defence minister, Chi Haotian, and the prime minister, Zhu Rongji. Ogi will meet the president, Jiang Zemin on Wednesday.

The primary reason for Ogi's visit is to take part in a ceremony marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. But he is also expected to raise the issue of human rights, and China's application to join the World Trade Organisation.

Switzerland and Mexico are the only two countries not to have given their blessing to Chinese membership.

The Swiss president has been urged by activists in Switzerland to confront Chinese leaders over Tibet. Switzerland has the largest number of exiled Tibetans of any non-Asian country.

The issue has already led to a diplomatic row between Berne and Beijing. Last year, on a visit to Switzerland, Jiang Zemin was offended by a pro-Tibetan demonstration in Berne. At the time, Jiang said Switzerland had "lost a good friend".

The political fall-out from that visit led Beijing to hint that Jiang might not personally receive Ogi during his visit to China. Ogi responded by saying he would not go ahead with his trip unless he was assured an audience with the president.

Beijing subsequently agreed that a meeting would take place.

The Swiss president is accompanied on his visit by the state secretary at the economics ministry, David Syz, as well as a delegation of businessmen.

His visit also coincides with the Switzerland 2000 exhibition in Shanghai later this week.

From China Ogi will fly to Sydney to be present at the opening of the Olympic Games on Friday.

swissinfo with agencies

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?