ROME, Feb. 7 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's attendance at the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games highlights strengthening of Sino-Russian ties in a globalized world where China plays a growing role, Italian experts told Xinhua on Friday.
"Xi's presence in Sochi should be especially evaluated considering some evident absences," said Aldo Ferrari, director of the Caucasus and Central Asia Program at Milan-based Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI).
Ferrari noted that several heads of Western states were missing there while the Chinese president was attending the ceremony.
The visit of the Chinese president to Russia, his first foreign destination of a year for the second time and also the first attendance by a Chinese president at a major overseas sports event, underlined that Sino-Russian ties and reciprocal support were going through a "positive stage," Ferrari said.
Ferrari said the two countries shared some "common aspects" in their foreign policies, starting from "the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs."
He believed that cooperation between China and Russia, two global powers, "will continue in the next decades."
Lucio Caracciolo, director of Italian influential geopolitical magazine Limes, said the relations between China and Russia, though amid cultural differences, have strengthened over the past couple of years, "with the political intention to overcome ancient prejudices and stereotypes."
"At the global level, China needs Russia and Russia needs China," Caracciolo said.
The two countries especially share the same idea of "national sovereignty," or the supreme power by which an independent state is governed, Caracciolo added, agreeing with Ferrari that both the countries believe in the principle of "non-interference."
Valdo Ferretti, professor of East Asia History at Sapienza University of Rome, underlined that Sochi was an important occasion for China to improve its image as a pacific and fast developing country in the world.
He called Xi's presence in Sochi "a notable step" to reassure neighboring countries that China's economic development and friendly foreign policy are also for the goodness of other powers in the world.
"I believe that China can play a role to keep stability in East Asia and be a reference point for balance at the global level," Ferretti said.
While preserving its own economic interests, he added, "China can also help other countries in the world to improve their conditions and pursue common development and peace."