VIENNA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Austria is interested in further developing "very good" bilateral relations with China through regular high-level visits, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen told Xinhua ahead of his first state visit to China.
The relationship between the two countries is very good and continues to develop on a high level, Van der Bellen said in a recent written interview with Xinhua.
Van der Bellen leaves for Beijing on Friday together with a 250-person-strong delegation, including four cabinet ministers and 170 businessmen. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is expected to join the delegation on Sunday.
Van der Bellen said the highlight of the visit, which will last from April 7 to April 12, will be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and getting to know him personally.
Business opportunities between both countries will be high on the agenda.
There are many areas of cooperation that are expected to be further strengthened, for example in the field of science, he said.
Van der Bellen also said that there are many opportunities for cooperation between China and Austria in science, infrastructure, sustainable development, food, financial services and tourism, including winter sports tourism.
Of course, in the field of sports tourism in winter, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games will provide special cooperation opportunities for the two sides, he said.
The president also sees huge cooperation potential in the areas of innovation and technology.
Austrian companies possess very specific know-how in many areas including high-tech, infrastructure and environmental technologies, and are even market leaders in some branches, he said.
This expertise also carries great relevance for China in its own development of the same industries, and as such the Austrian delegation will present its capacities at two forums in Beijing and Chengdu, as well as at the Boao economic forum in China's Hainan Province.
He said the Austrian delegation is planning to have a bilateral agreement signed by both countries during the trip.
"In addition, it will be important for us to exchange views on the Belt and Road Initiative and the resulting opportunities for both sides," he said.
Van der Bellen said he is very much looking forward to seeing China's changes since his last visit in 2005, and especially to gaining a better understanding of China's economic development over the past few decades.
The Austrian leader said he and his wife Doris also plan to take in the extensive culture and rich history China has to offer, and he is upbeat about a coming trip to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Austria, for its part, also has a unique culture and attracted about 900,000 Chinese tourists last year, meaning both countries share a further link in having such strong cultural traditions, he said.
Also on the itinerary will be the opening of a new Austrian consulate general in Chengdu and a visit to a panda center, he said.