Author: Yan Qiong
Posted on: CGTN | February 22nd, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted a welcoming ceremony for the visiting Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
In a meeting afterwards, the two leaders agreed to push Sino-Italian relations to a new level, and better benefit the people of the two countries.
Xi said China and Italy have been cooperating on equal footing for the last 47 years, since diplomatic ties were established. Xi welcomed Italy to join the Belt and Road Initiative, and urged cooperation in innovation.
China is willing to work with Italy in global governance within multilateral frameworks like the United Nations and G20, and China supports the integration of Europe, Xi noted.
Mattarella said his visit aims to deepen the comprehensive strategic relationship, and is willing to develop more effective trade and economic ties. He also said Italy is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between China and Europe.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation agreements in areas like education, culture, energy, technology and healthcare.
It was the first time President Xi rolled out the red carpet for a foreign head of state this year, and his Italian counterpart Mattarella is also visiting the country for the very first time as president.
Mattarella is in China for an official visit from February 21 to 26.
China is Italy’s largest trading partner in Asia, while Italy is China’s fifth largest trading partner in the European Union.
In 2015, two-way trade volume totaled about 45 billion US dollars.
Chinese companies have also been actively participating in Italy’s privatization efforts, buying up assets in industries like yachting, oil, banking, and tires.
In terms of technology transfer, Italy is China’s third largest source in the EU, with the two countries cooperating in areas like textiles, telecommunications, and aerospace.
Both countries also work closely in cultural and educational areas.
China’s National Museum and Italy’s National Museum of Palazzo Venezia have displays in each other’s facilities; and China has set up 11 Confucius Institutes in Italy.
To deepen cooperation in justice assistance, in 2015, Italy agreed to extradite fugitives of economic crimes to China, the first European country to do so.