Visit to China prelude to new Asian focus of Austrian diplomacy: Austrian FM

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"A change of scene is in progress: from the Transatlantic to the Pacific era. We must take account of the changed geopolitical conditions, "said Kneissl at the beginning of the visit to China.

VIENNA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Austrian leaders' visit to China is the prelude to the new Asian focus of Austrian diplomacy, said Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl on Monday on the website of the Foreign Ministry.

Kneissl added that the impressive growth of the emerging economies makes Asia at the same time an attractive trading partner and a sought-after region of origin for incoming tourism.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen is in Beijing, together with a 2500-strong delegation for a state visit, including Kneissl and three other cabinet ministers and 170 businessmen. The delegation is the largest since the two sides established the diplomatic relations.

The official expressed confidence in cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative.

In recent years, China has become not only a major economic power, but also a global player who is willing to play a constructive role even in the case of problems such as climate change. "Austria also welcomes the Silk Road Initiative. It opens up valuable opportunities for China and Austria to cooperate in third markets, "said the foreign minister.

"My goal is to increase confidence in Asia over the next few years and to position Austria as a mediator and location for diplomacy and the economy," said the minister.