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Italians watch Premier’s visit with interest, hopes

Updated: Oct 15,2014 2:21 PM     Xinhua

ROME — As Premier Li Keqiang started his official visit to Italy on Oct 14, Italians are showing keen interest in and holding high expectations for the event.

Paolo Frugoni, a local wine seller, told Xinhua that he learned about the Chinese premier’s visit as it has been widely covered in media in the last few days.

“I think it is a good thing for two reasons: firstly, I hope it will give a boost to our relationship with China. Secondly, there is a very large Chinese community living in Italy, and such high-level visits could bring positive developments at social level, too,” he said.

Frugoni said he believes that a strong Italy-China relationship would be crucial to Italy, which needs more foreign investment, and also satisfy China’s increasing interest in high-quality manufacturing, something Italian firms could offer.

Translator Luigi Sabatino pointed to the opportunities Li’s visit could bring.

“As far as I know, Italy has a growing commercial link with China, one of the strongest in Europe. Also, many Italian companies were able to expand their business by opening branches in China or focusing more on that market,” Sabatino said.

Besides, “the visit of a foreign prime minister always has a symbolic value. It reveals attention and respect for our country,” she added.

Some Italians’ interest in Li’s visit is connected to what they know or think about China, with a strong curiosity.

“My idea of China today is of a huge ‘machine’ that is running fast. As for their society, I am very interested in their ancient culture. But I would also love to visit the country and get to know their life conditions,” said Cristina Zen, a former insurance office manager.

She said she hopes that the premier’s visit will result not only in more commercial agreements, but also in stronger social and cultural integration with Chinese communities here, which are large and well rooted.

In the eyes of Gaia Giani, a photographer from Milan, “China’s interest in Italy can be positive for us, because they are investing much in research and this can benefit our economy.”