“Times are changing - from a transatlantic to a Pacific era. We have to take the altered geopolitical situation into account”, explained Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at the start of Austria’s state visit to the People’s Republic of China.
China has not only risen to become an economic superpower in previous years, it has also developed into a global player which, should it want to, could also play a constructive role in the face of problems such as climate change. “Austria also welcomes the New Silk Road or One Belt One Road Initiative. It creates valuable opportunities for China and Austria to cooperate on third markets“, said the Foreign Minister.
“This state visit to China marks the start of Austria’s new diplomatic focus on Asia“, said Karin Kneissl. The impressive growth of Asia’s emerging markets not only makes it an attractive trading partner but also a desirable region of origin of incoming tourists.
“In the coming years, I am interested in building greater trust in Asia and positioning Austria as a mediator and location for diplomacy and finance“, explained the Foreign Minister.
Karin Kneissl also used the meeting as an opportunity to discuss the human rights situation with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. “Protecting and respecting human and civil rights are vital requisites for stable and sustainable development and society”, emphasised the Foreign Minister. Both ministers also discussed the current developments in Russia and international crises, such as Syria. The Chinese side also displayed an interest in the Foreign Minister’s expertise in the Middle East. As Austria assumes the next Presidency of the Council of the European Union, it will act as a unifying force. Both sides emphasised their interests in the full clarification of the Skripal case.