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Sino-Swiss Strategic Partnership: A Model for China-Europe Relations

Shichen Wang

China Quarterly of International Strategic Studies. May 2017 [Link]

Introduction

After signing a bilateral free trade agreement with China and joining in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Switzerland has become one of China’s best partners in Europe. The bilateral relationship has been upgraded from “strategic partnership” to “innovative strategic partnership,” and is regarded by the Chinese as “a model relationship for China-European countries.” Two fundamental reasons explain why Switzerland has achieved such harmonious relations with the world’s second largest economy: first, there is no historical conflict between the two countries; second, Switzerland is more pragmatic than other European countries in strengthening bilateral cooperation with China. So far, the two countries have institutionalized dialogues and other exchanges involving both elites and the public; sensitive issues have been properly handled without obstructing the development of their bilateral relations. As ever closer ties are being built between China and Europe as a whole, the Beijing-Bern relationship can serve as a model for other European countries.

This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.