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China, Italy must push for new progress in ties: Chinese FM

Updated: Aug 26,2020 01:45 PM    Xinhua

ROME — China and Italy should build on the good momentum of their joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to push for new developments in their bilateral relations, visiting State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Aug 25 in Rome.

The current European trip is the first overseas tour by a Chinese foreign minister since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, and Italy is the first stop, Wang said during a talk with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio.

He said this arrangement shows the importance of China-Italy relations in China's diplomacy, and the great value China attaches to its ties with Europe.

Noting that the pandemic is a common challenge facing all mankind, Wang said that solidarity and cooperation among all countries are the correct response.

In this regard, he added, China and Italy are at the forefront of the world, setting an example for international anti-pandemic cooperation.

Wang said his visit is a continuation of China-Italy solidarity in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and marks the beginning of bilateral efforts to deepen cooperation in the post-pandemic era.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy, Wang said, adding that the two countries should take advantage of the momentum and push for new progress in bilateral relations.

The two sides, Wang said, should resume exchanges at all levels in an orderly manner, strengthen the intergovernmental cooperation mechanism, restart the landmark cooperation projects at an early date, formulate a new three-year action plan to strengthen practical cooperation and promote the comprehensive development of bilateral relations.

China and Italy should also focus on Belt and Road cooperation, he said, urging the two countries to make good use of the fast track for personnel exchanges, accelerate work and production resumption, hold the China-Italy Belt and Road entrepreneurs conference next year, and promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road to achieve more visible results.

The two countries, he added, should jointly uphold multilateralism and trade liberalization, safeguard the security of global industrial and supply chains, and help promote global anti-pandemic cooperation and economic recovery.

Wang said China appreciates Italy's adherence to the one-China principle and its understanding and support on issues concerning China's core interests and major concerns.

China will, as always, support Italy in playing a greater role in the European Union (EU) and international and regional affairs, he added.

China is willing to share the opportunities of China's development with the rest of the world, Wang said, adding that the more China develops, the wider its door to the outside world will open.

Wang said he hopes that Italy and Europe can also maintain the tradition of opening up to the outside world and provide Chinese companies with a fair and transparent business environment.

China stands ready to work with the EU side to complete the negotiations for a China-EU investment agreement within this year, expand cooperation in such areas as digital economy and climate change, and help bolster global economic recovery and development in the post-COVID-19 era.

For his part, Di Maio said that China is an important and indispensable partner of Italy on a global scale, and Italy-China friendship enjoys a long history.

Italy, he said, is grateful to China for extending a helping hand in time during the most difficult period of Italy's fight against the coronavirus.

At a time when the global economy is recovering, Italy-China cooperation has achieved fruitful results, sending a very positive signal to the outside world, Di Maio said.

Italy, he added, hopes to further strengthen the existing cooperation mechanism between the two countries, hold a new joint meeting of the Italy-China Government Committee within the year, map out a new three-year action plan for strengthening bilateral practical cooperation and push for new progress in important cooperation projects within the Belt and Road framework.

Italy will actively participate in the China International Import Expo, Di Maio said, adding that Italy supports the strengthening of EU-China cooperation, stands ready to serve as a bridge for East-West communication and a link for China-EU exchanges, and wishes for more important results in EU-China cooperation.

The two sides also had an in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues of common concern.

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