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Boosting ties with China high on Italy's agenda: PM

(Xinhua)

13:43, June 16, 2012

MILAN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said here on Friday that Italy is ready to take a "quality leap" in its bilateral relations with China.

"We believe the moment is ready for a quality leap in bilateral relations. Commercial and tourist exchanges are growing, but there is still a lot of space for investment," said Monti at a charity gala dinner here.

The event was jointly organized by the city of Milan and the Italy-China Foundation to raise funds for relief efforts in the wake of two deadly earthquakes that jolted the region and claimed 27 lives.

"China is a strategic partner for Europe, and Italy is in the first row in promoting all forms of cooperation to support a strong, balanced and sustainable world economic growth," Monti told the guests present including the ministers of foreign affairs, labor, health and tourism from his cabinet.

"It is the first time that I take part in an initiative along with half of the Council of Ministers," said Monti, adding that this demonstrates China's great importance in the world today.

Both the Italian and Chinese governments are "strongly committed" to further developing relations and promoting cooperation, stressed the prime minister, who visited China in April and participated in the 2012 Boao Forum for Asia there.

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