GENEVA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Swiss people applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping's signed article published ahead of his Jan. 15-18 state visit to Switzerland, saying more exchanges will lead to deeper friendship and better state-to-state relations.
At the beginning of the article, Xi cited the well-known Swiss poet and Nobel laureate Carl Spitteler as saying that there is no greater happiness than having friends who share the same outlook and destiny.
Lena Schulz, a Zurich resident, saw "a very friendly message" in the article published Friday in the Swiss daily Neue Zurcher Zeitung.
"Switzerland and China can cooperate in many areas to benefit their two peoples," Schulz said. Before reading the article, she had heard about Xi's trip from TV news.
"There is a different China in different eyes. I hope I can travel to China soon, and watch the (2022) Olympic Winter Games in Beijing," she told Xinhua.
Increased people-to-people exchanges are among what Xi envisions for the future development of China-Switzerland relations in his article, in addition to continued high-level communications, practical innovation cooperation and a China-Switzerland free trade zone.
"I can't agree to this more," said Felix Schmit, who was interviewed by Xinhua on the streets of Zurich, which is Switzerland's biggest city and an economic, financial and cultural center in Western Europe.
"More exchanges will lead to better understanding and deeper friendship, hence better state-to-state relations," he said.
In sharing his feelings about Xi's article, Swiss netizen Adrian Heberlein said Switzerland and China can learn from and benefit each other through exchanges, while Ruedi Gamma praised the Swiss federal government for making the wise decision to develop an open dialogue with China in seeking common interests.
During his first overseas trip in 2017, Xi's scheduled attendance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos and a tour of mostly Geneva-based international institutions have also drawn close attention.
"I have great hopes now of Xi participating in Davos (meeting). There you have a lot of leaders and decision markers present ...it is a great opportunity to convince other people to follow and work together on these issues of keeping the world an open place, environmental protection and all of that," said 41-year-old Swiss businessman Andries Diener, who had been based in China for years.
As a participant in WEF annual activities several times, Diener said he has "never been so concerned" about the "less predictable" world than today, where "the trend towards protectionism and populism is completely the other direction" to openness, exchanges and mutual respect.
He believed an "impact on the world has to come from countries like China."
Francois Subiger, an official responsible for media services at the United Nations (UN) office in Geneva, noticed that with increasingly more Chinese faces and voices in UN agencies over the years, China has turned from an onlooker into a participant and a leader on different issues, deeply involved in solutions to problems concerning peace, security and development as an important player in the international arena.
In France, Switzerland's neighbor, China expert Pierre Picard from the University of Paris VIII said the content of Xi's article shows China's intention of developing friendly cooperation with countries of different sizes, and that the people-to-people exchanges Xi advocates are badly needed for a globalization that benefits all people.