|Xi Jinping Holds Talks with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy|
On March 22, 2019 local time, President Xi Jinping held talks with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy in Rome. The two heads of state agreed to firmly grasp the general direction of China-Italy relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective and join hands to push for greater development of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era.
Xi Jinping pointed out that both China and Italy are countries with ancient civilizations and splendid culture. China and Italy enjoy time-honored relations. This year marks 15th anniversary of the establishment of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, and the two countries will embrace the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. For nearly half a century, the two countries have respected, trusted and helped each other, constantly intensified high-level exchanges and strategic mutual trust, strengthened exchanges, cooperation and convergence of interests, and deepened mutual understanding and traditional friendship. As the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, the Chinese side is willing to, together with the Italian side, carry forward the spirit of cooperation, strengthen strategic communication, encourage the international community to seek common ground while reserving differences and promote development through cooperation, so as to contribute new wisdom and strength to building a better world.
Xi Jinping emphasized that the Chinese side stands ready to join hands with the Italian side to firmly keep the direction of bilateral relations in the new era, carry out closer high-level exchanges and upgrade the quality and level of bilateral practical cooperation. I agreed with Mr. President’s proposal that Italy and China should be partners with inclusive interests and common development. The Chinese side is willing to enhance the comprehensive strategic partnership with the Italian side. The two sides need to strengthen communication on visions, consolidate political mutual trust, continue to extend mutual understanding and support on issues of each other's core interests and major concerns, and strengthen communication and cooperation between governments, legislative bodies and political parties. The two sides should create highlights in bilateral cooperation, jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative, and promote the synergy of the development strategies and the planning of practical cooperation. The Chinese side is willing to import more high-quality products from Italy and encourage more capable Chinese enterprises to invest and start business in Italy. Both sides should boost people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and enhance exchanges and cooperation in such fields as culture, education, film and television and media, so as to consolidate the popular support for friendship between the two peoples.
Xi Jinping pointed out that China has always supported the European integration process and respected the efforts of the European Union (EU) in solving its problems. It is hoped that the Italian side will continue playing a positive role in promoting the EU and the Chinese side to advance the partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization. The Chinese side is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with the Italian side on major issues such as the United Nations (UN) affairs, global governance, climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, jointly promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and push economic globalization in the direction of becoming more open, inclusive, balanced, win-win, and beneficial to all.
Sergio Mattarella warmly welcomed President Xi Jinping. I still had a vivid memory of my visit to China in 2017. The frequent high-level exchanges between Italy and China, especially President Xi Jinping’s visit this time, fully demonstrated the high level of bilateral relations. China is a close and important partner of Italy. The Italian side admires China’s development achievements, appreciates the Chinese side’s adherence to the opening up strategy, and has confidence in the prospect of Italy-China cooperation. Italy is willing to take the opportunities of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of Italy-China comprehensive strategic partnership this year and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Italy-China diplomatic relations next year to expand the mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields such as economy and trade, investment, science and technology, and innovation between the two countries. Italy and China were at the two ends of the ancient Silk Road which had been a bond closely linking the two countries. Italy supports the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping and believes that it will be conducive to Eurasian connectivity and common development, as well as to reviving the ancient Silk Road in modern times. The Belt and Road is also a cultural exchange road. The Italian side is willing to boost exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese side in culture and tourism. Italy and China are countries with ancient civilizations lasting thousands of years, and the two peoples are wise enough to address the challenges facing human society today. Italy believes that China’s rejuvenation will make new historic contributions to the world peace and prosperity. The Italian side is committed to promoting in-depth development of EU-China relations, and is willing to enhance communication and coordination with China in multilateral institutions such as the UN and the G20, jointly safeguard multilateralism and trade liberalization, and meet challenges such as climate change and international security together.
After the talks, the two heads of state jointly met the press.
Before the talks, President Sergio Mattarella held a grand welcome ceremony for President Xi Jinping at the presidential palace square. Rome in the early spring enjoys warm breeze and clear sky. Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan went to the presidential palace square by car under the escort of the costumed and majestic Italian cavalries.
President Sergio Mattarella and his daughter Laura Mattarella welcomed Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan at the parking site when Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan arrived, and exchanged greetings. The military band played the national anthems of China and Italy and raised the national flag of China. The heads of state of the two countries reviewed the guard of honor together. The head of the guard of honor asked Xi Jinping to review. Accompanied by President Sergio Mattarella, Xi Jinping reviewed the army, navy, air force and cavalry formations successively. Xi Jinping shook hands with main officials of the Italian side, and President Sergio Mattarella shook hands with the Chinese delegation members.
On the same day, Xi Jinping laid a wreath at the Italian tomb of unknown soldiers.
Ding Xuexiang, Yang Jiechi, Wang Yi, He Lifeng and others attended the above activities.