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Highlights of Xi’s visits to Italy, Monaco and France

(People's Daily Online)    18:15, March 21, 2019

Chinese officials have revealed a number of highlights from President Xi Jinping’s ongoing state visit to Italy, Monaco and France, which began on March 21.

Xi’s six-day visit to Europe marks the first overseas trip in 2019 by the Chinese head of state, bearing historical significance for the development of relations between China and the three countries, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

China-Italy pragmatic cooperation in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Wang said that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Italy, and next year will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has reacted positively towards closer cooperation with China within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and has planned to sign an MoU with China. At this point, Italy is anticipated to be the first G7 country to join the BRI.

Xi’s visit will enhance bilateral political trust and elevate the cooperative relationship to a higher level, said Dong Jinyi, former Chinese Ambassador to Italy, noting that Italy is an important member country of the G20 and the EU.

The BRI provides a platform for win-win cooperation, and joining the initiative will bring tangible benefits to both countries, Dong added.

China-Monaco relations in a new era

Monaco, the world’s second smallest country and one of the most densely populated countries in the world, will be the second stop on Xi’s itinerary. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, the European country is known for environmental protection, culture, tourism and sports.

Xi’s visit to Monaco will mark the first state visit by a Chinese head of state, at which time Xi is scheduled to meet with Head of State of the Principality of Monaco, Albert II, who has visited China 10 times and seeks in-depth cooperation in politics, economy, people-to-people exchanges and environment protection.

Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that Xi’s visit to Monaco reflects China’s diplomatic thought of treating all countries equally regardless of their size. Furthermore, it will write a new chapter for bilateral ties as well as the relations between China and small countries.

China, France to expand cooperation and continue protecting multilateralism

France was the first major country in the West to establish diplomatic relations with China. Xi's visit this time coincides with the 55th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties.

The former Chinese ambassador to France, Zhao Jinjun, noted that both countries would take the opportunity to exchange opinions on major international issues, and further promote bilateral relations.

China and France already have good cooperation in aircraft, high-speed rail and nuclear power, said Zhao, adding that in the future, there will be broad space for cooperation in the fields of finance, people's livelihood and consumption.

China and Europe are firm advocates of multilateralism, sharing common interests in safeguarding multilateralism and global governance, said Ruan. Xi’s visit indicates China’s great attention to China-EU relations, while strengthened cooperation will inject certainty into the international situation.

Zhao explained that Xi’s visit would expand cooperation of the BRI between China and Europe, as well as help clear any current doubts from European countries.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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