Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan walk out of the plane after arrival in Zurich, Switzerland, Jan. 15, 2017. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Sunday to pay a state visit to Switzerland and attend the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
ZURICH, Switzerland, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Sunday to pay a state visit to Switzerland and attend the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
It is the first state visit to the Alpine country by a Chinese president in the 21st century. And meanwhile, Xi will become the first Chinese head of state to attend the Davos meeting.
The Swiss government rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese president and his wife Peng Liyuan at the airport in Zurich. The couple were greeted by Swiss President Doris Leuthard and her husband Roland Hausin.
Accompanied by Leuthard, Xi inspected the guard of honor with a military band playing the two countries' national anthems.
In a written speech delivered at the airport, the Chinese president briefly reviewed the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries since they established diplomatic ties 67 years ago.
"I hope that, through my visit, we can deepen the traditional friendship between our two peoples, expand our practical cooperation in various areas, enrich the meaning of our innovative strategic partnership, push the bilateral ties to a new high, and jointly make positive contributions to promoting world economic recovery," he said.
After the welcome ceremony at the Zurich airport, Xi traveled to the Swiss capital of Bern by a special train of the Swiss government, where he is scheduled to have talks and meetings with Swiss leaders.
China and Switzerland have enjoyed long-term exchanges and cooperation. In 19400, Switzerland was one of the first Western countries to recognize and establish diplomatic relations with the newly-founded People's Republic of China. At the start of this century, Switzerland was among the first European countries to recognize China as a full market economy. In recent years, Switzerland became the first European continental country to conclude and implement a free trade agreement with China.
Xi will later travel to the ski resort of Davos to attend the WEF annual meeting, which comes as economic globalization is being faced with headwinds and dented by rising populism and trade protectionism.
He will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on Jan. 17 to share the views of the world's second largest economy on charting the course for globalization to make it more inclusive and beneficial to all and on revitalizing global economic growth.
During this first overseas trip by Xi in 2017, which lasts from Jan. 15 to 18, the president will also travel to Geneva and Lausanne to visit the headquarters of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee.
Xi will give a speech at the UNOG on Jan. 18 to expound on how to realize the vision of building a community of shared future for mankind.