BERN – Diplomatic pressure has increased on Switzerland from the United States and China in recent years. Nevertheless, Federal Chancellor Ignazio Cassis is confident that Switzerland will not fall between the two superpowers.
In the strategy on China released by the Federal Council on Friday, Switzerland expresses stronger criticism of human rights violations in the Asian country. With the new strategy, the criticism becomes more accurate and clear, says the foreign minister in an interview published today in the newspaper “NZM Sonntag”: This represents a change of course.
Through this strategy, Switzerland gains a framework for its relations with China. In it – Cassis explains – things are now called by name; Clearly with regard to the language and diplomats as to the implementation. The issue of human rights is no longer the exclusive task of the Federal State Department, but of the entire government.
Provinces, cities, science and economics can also contribute to protecting basic rights: “With the participation of all actors, we hope to have greater persuasive power on the issue of human rights, as also envisaged in the action of the Federal Council for Economics and Human Rights plan,” adds Ticino.
In response to a question about Switzerland’s stance on US sanctions against many Chinese leaders, Cassis said that the EU automatically adopts UN sanctions. For partners on the same wavelength as the European Union, it is implemented on a voluntary basis. On the other hand, Switzerland has never adopted US sanctions.
Washington has already pressed Bern in recent years to comply with its sanctions. But Switzerland has always managed to avoid siding with one side or the other. It maintains good relations with both the United States and China. Cassis says he is confident that the union will not end between the two fronts.