Swiss Government Reconsiders Stance on China


The Swiss government is reviewing its policy towards Beijing, the NZZ am Sonntag has revealed. Whether the Swiss will renew the expiring strategy remains open.

When Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis presented his own China strategy in 2021, “for once even his critics were pleasantly surprised”, the paper wrote on Sunday. This, it said, was a novelty in Swiss foreign policy and an expression of Cassis’s desire to take China’s growing weight into account.

In it, Cassis explored a path that would keep the giant market open for Swiss companies without having to throw its own values overboard, the paper said. “Criticism of the Chinese regime was clearly formulated in the strategy, and human rights were to be addressed at every opportunity from then on,” it said.

Two-and-a-half years later, the government is now setting about revising this policy, according to research by the NZZ am Sonntag. However, it is a process with an open outcome. The current China strategy will expire next year, and it is uncertain whether it will be followed by a new doctrine.

‘Midterm review’

The strategy is the subject of a “midterm review”, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry told the paper. The aim is to assess its impact on the federal administration, the cantons and municipalities, civil society and academic circles, he said.

And what happens then? “It will be up to the government to decide whether to extend the current strategy with a new one once it expires. This decision is still pending,” the foreign ministry said.

Source : SWI