President Hu arrives in Italy for visit, G8 outreach session
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his wife Liu Yongqing wave upon their arrival at Rome, Italy, July 5, 2009. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Rome Sunday for a state visit, and he will attend the outreach session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit scheduled for Thursday in the central Italian city of L'aquila.
In a statement released upon his arrival at the Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Hu said he is very glad to come to this beautiful country for a state visit at the invitation of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (C) is welcomed by an Italian official upon his arrival at Rome, Italy, July 5, 2009. Hu started a state visit to Italy on Sunday. Hu will also attend the outreach session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit scheduled for July 9th in the central Italian city of L'Aquila. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
"I believe that under joint effort of both sides, this visit will be a total success and help advance the all-round strategic partnership between China and Italy to a new stage," Hu said in the statement.
Noting both China and Italy are countries with a long history of civilization, Hu said the two peoples enjoy a long-standing friendship.
"China places great importance on expanding relations with Italy," Hu said, adding China is ready to join effort with Italy to bring in an even brighter future of bilateral relations.
Chinese President Hu Jintao is greeted by a girl upon his arrival at Rome, Italy, July 5, 2009. Hu started a state visit to Italy on Sunday. Hu will also attend the outreach session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit scheduled for July 9th in the central Italian city of L'Aquila. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
In Rome, President Hu will meet President Napolitano, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and other Italian leaders to discuss the development of bilateral cooperation.
In recent years, the all-round strategic partnership between China and Italy has witnessed continuous development as political mutual trust has become deeper and deeper, and cooperation and exchanges in various fields have expanded rapidly.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (L, front) waves upon his arrival at Rome, Italy, July 5, 2009. Hu started a state visit to Italy on Sunday. Hu will also attend the outreach session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit scheduled for July 9th in the central Italian city of L'Aquila. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
The two countries have maintained close coordination on world affairs and expanded people-to-people exchanges and cultural cooperation.
China is now Italy's important trading partner with the two-way trade totaling 38.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 despite the slowdown of the global economy.
The two countries have also expanded cooperation in the sectors of economy, culture, science and environmental protection in recent years.
In L'aquila, the Chinese president will attend the outreach session of the G8 summit and other meetings.
According to Italy, the host of the 35th G8 summit, leaders from the G8 and major developing countries will hold talks from Wednesday to Friday on the world economy, the financial crisis, climate change, food security, trade and development.
President Hu will attend a group meeting Wednesday with leaders from India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico. They are expected to exchange views on the issues of common concern.
At the outreach session of the G8 summit Thursday, leaders of the G8 nations, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, and Egypt, a special guest of the Italian president, will discuss a number of pressing issues, such as the world economy, the financial crisis, and international trade.
This is the sixth time that the Chinese president has attended the G8 outreach session. The previous one took place in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako last July.
The G8, an informal forum of leading industrialized nations, groups Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, the United States, Canada and Russia.
President Hu will also attend the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on energy security and climate change Thursday.
Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi described the forum in L'aquila as a "crucial step in the preparatory work paving the way for the UN conference in Copenhagen this December."
On Friday, President Hu will join discussions with leaders of the G8, Brazil, India, South Africa, Mexico and a group of African nations on aid, food security and progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.
China expects the outreach session will give "a strong signal for further cooperation on tackling the financial crisis on the basis of the G20 summits," said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei at a press briefing last week.
"We expect the meeting will help to raise concern on the impact of the global downturn on development issues and food security, especially in African countries," He said.
On the sidelines of the G8 outreach session, President Hu is expected to meet some leaders participating in the event, including U.S. President Barack Obama, to discuss bilateral ties and the international issues of common concern.
Hu and Obama met for the first time on April 1 to discuss bilateral ties, the ongoing global financial storm and other major issues of common concern when they were attending a Group of 20 summit on the financial crisis in London.
The G8 has strengthened links and dialogue with developing countries in recent years. Such a trend has helped advance the South-North dialogue and cooperation, push forward the development of multilateralism, and promote the resolution of global issues.
Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi decided to move the venue of G8 summit from the island of Sardinia to L'aquila, where an earthquake on April 6 killed 295 people and left over 60,000 people homeless.
The Italian government hopes the shift of the summit venue could attract more attention to the plight of the victims in L'aquila and help the devastated city's reconstruction.
Since the end of last year, President Hu has attended a series of major international conferences on the financial crisis and other major issues.
He participated in the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the first meeting of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) leaders in Russia's Ural city of Yekaterinburg in June.
He was present at the G20 financial summit in London in the beginning of April.
The Chinese president and other leaders from the G20 members also gathered in Washington for a summit on the financial crisis on Nov. 15 last year.
Days later, Hu flew after a Cuba visit to Peru to attend the Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Organization (APEC) on regional economic issues and the financial crisis.
Other Chinese leaders including Premier Wen Jiabao have also participated in several international conferences to seek joint actions with other countries to deal with the crisis.
Premier Wen stressed confidence, cooperation and responsibility as a key to overcoming the financial storm at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in the Swiss skiing resort of Davos in January.
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