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Xi’s visit ushers in new chapter of China-Italy ties

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)    09:44, March 26, 2019

Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Italy from Mar. 21 to 24. The visit bore huge significance as this year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi held talks with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and attended relevant activities. The two parties reached broad consensus on bilateral ties, as well as regional and international issues of common interest.

The two countries also signed a joint communiqué to advance China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, as well as 19 inter-governmental bilateral cooperation documents.

The visit, achieving fruitful results, indicated the further consolidation of the sustainability, stability and strategies of China-Italy relations, as well as the comprehensive expansion of the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

The visit will usher in a new era of China-Italy relationship that is vital and energetic.

Xi compared China-Italy relations to a tall and luxuriant tree whose roots run deep and strong, praising the relations as being strategic partners featuring mutual respect and trust, cooperative partners featuring mutual benefit and win-win result, and cultural exchange partners featuring mutual learning. His description vividly depicted the present and future of China-Italy ties.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, and the two countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations next year.

China and Italy agreed to guide the direction of bilateral ties from a strategic height and long-term perspective, and jointly push for greater development of the China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership.

Conte believes that Xi's visit to Italy bears historic significance and will lead the Italy-China relations to a higher level.

Friendship and cooperation carry the will of the people. From the friendly exchanges conducted on the ancient Silk Road, to the letter exchanges between Xi and the students at an Italian boarding school, what the people feel is the sustained friendship between Chinese and Italians that has developed over 2,000 years. It serves as a firm support for the stable and rapid development of China-Italy relations.

Days ago, Xi and Mattarella met with representatives attending the three major institutional meetings of China-Italy Entrepreneur Committee, China-Italy Third Party Market Cooperation Forum and China-Italy Cultural Cooperation Mechanism, which were held in parallel for the first time.

Both parties confirmed that Italy will participate the second China International Import Expo as a guest country of honor. It inspired confidence of the two peoples toward brighter prospects of China-Italy friendly cooperation.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by China and Italy to jointly advance the construction of the Belt and Road is a highlight of Xi’s visit.

The ancient Chang’an (Xi’an) and Rome, two major cities along the ancient Silk Road, witnessed numerous stories of friendship and cooperation. Today, they once again join each other, becoming cooperation partners to jointly construct the Belt and Road.

Conte said Italy is glad to joining the Belt and Road construction, adding that he strongly believes that it will bring Italy various opportunities such as increased foreign economic and trade exchanges.

The Italian Prime Minister said he is looking forward to attending the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation next month in Beijing. The strategic alignment between China and Italy to jointly build the Belt and Road will bring benefits not only to the people of two countries, but also to the European integration and the European people at large.

Italy is one of the founding members of the European Union (EU), and the Treaty of Rome signed 62 years ago is seen as an important milestone of European integration. China-Italy relations have always been at the forefront of Sino-EU relations.

Xi noted during his visit that China has always supported the European integration, and is willing to work with EU countries including Italy to deepen China-Europe cooperation. His Italian counterpart responded that Italy is committed to promoting in-depth development of EU-China ties.

Such positive statements made by the heads of state of the two countries have depicted a bright future of the deepening China-Europe partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization.

As the warm breezes blow this March, the Apennine Peninsula is witnessing a new milestone in the development of China-Italy relations. The historical visit paid by Xi to Italy is of great significance for the long-term stability of the win-win cooperation between the two countries, as well as the interconnectivity between China and Europe, and the global prosperity at large.

(Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for "voice of China", is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy.) 

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

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