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China faces big chance, responsibility to take leadership role at international level

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

01-15-2017 13:23 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Switzerland, Attends WEF Annual Meeting

ZURICH, Switzerland, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- China now faces a real chance and a big responsibility to take a leadership role at the international level, Swiss businessmen have commented ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Switzerland and his scheduled attendance at the 47th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

"It is good to see that President Xi comes here to say that China wants to keep working with the international institutions and wants to be part of the leading group to really push them forward," said Andries Diener, vice-president of the Swiss-Chinese Association and partner of a Switzerland-based private firm engaged in sustainable real estate projects in China.

"I hope that further strengthens the positive force in the world. Let's really use it and motivate others to participate," he told Xinhua.

"The world was a good place when we had openness, exchange and mutual respect, but nowadays the trend towards protectionism and populism goes completely the other direction....It makes the world as a whole less predictable," said Diener.

The businessman, who once worked as head of marketing in China for the Swiss company Schindler Elevator, said he has great hopes of Xi's attendance at the WEF in Davos.

"At Davos people talk directly with decisions makers and leaders. It presents a great opportunity to convince others to work together on issues such as keeping the world an open place, environmental protection, etc. I really hope that Xi can convince some people to work together with him," he said.

In a signed article published in the Friday edition of the Swiss paper Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Xi said the WEF annual meeting represents a good opportunity to boost confidence in rising to challenges and re-energize world economic growth and he looks forward to candid and in-depth exchanges with the participants.

"We meet at a time of angst about the prospects of the world economy, growing backlash against economic globalization, and rising populism and trade protectionism. There is a stronger call for revisiting and changing the current paths of development, systems of wealth distribution and models of governance," said Xi, who will also visit UN agencies and international organizations in Geneva and Lausanne during his stay in Switzerland.

For Diego Salmeron, a Swiss expert on spatial and environmental planning with a broad working experience in Asian countries, among his top concerns is the improvement of global governance of the environment with a better coordination.

"There is a strong will to maintain the momentum of the globalization and to cope with the challenges of development. International organizations and other actors are still promoting a sustainable world with sustainable global governance," he said, while calling for coordinated efforts.

"What we need is better coordination, the question is who makes this coordination. That is the cause of governance. Good global governance improves the coordination of different sectors and duties at global level. We need institutions that assume the responsibilities, certain executive power and corresponding financial means to do this coordinating task in a proper way," said the expert who has worked with many sustainable development projects across Asia, Africa and South America.

As to the challenges and responsibilities that China faces now, Salmeron believed that China has become an important global player on environmental issues.

"China is really facing the challenges of the consequences of the environment degradation. As a global player in economic, political and social affairs, China has also to assume its global corporate responsibility for environmental protection," he said.

"The general trend shows that China nowadays focuses more on quality than on quantity. It all depends on how China is going to work out the details," said the expert.

"If China proves that it can overcome these challenges, it can really be an important player in the global governance of the environment," said Salmeron.

On relations between China and Switzerland, former Mayor of Zurich and President of the Swiss-Chinese Association Thomas Wagner said Xi's article is very forward-looking, dynamic, motivating and enthralling.

It is with the conviction that "an innovative strategic partnership and a close collaboration are the basis for a better mutual understanding, for progress and improvement, for the social development, for the protection of environment and for peace in our beautiful, but sensitive and vulnerable planet," he said.

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