President Xi calls for aligning development strategies of China, Italy

SARDINIA, Italy, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Wednesday that China and Italy should better align their national development strategies and deepen cooperation in various fields.

Xi made the remarks while meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during his brief stay on the island en route for a week-long visit to Latin America.

The Chinese president called on Italy to better dovetail its development strategy with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

Italy has been China’s trusted friend and important partner in the European Union (EU) and the development momentum of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership is encouraging, Xi said.

China attaches great importance to its ties with Italy and is willing to work with Italy to enrich the partnership, so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples, Xi said.

He called on the two sides to maintain high-level communications, enhance personnel exchanges at all levels, and better coordinate on international and regional issues.

During the meeting, Xi also extended his sympathy to the Italian people affected by a strong earthquake that hit central Italy in October, and wished that the Italian people would tide over difficulties and rebuild their homes as soon as possible.

The Chinese president stressed that the EU is a vital pole in the world and a comprehensive strategic partner for China.

While Europe is experiencing some significant changes, China, a supporter of a prosperous and stable Europe, hopes that Italy could play an active role to ensure a long-term, steady and sound development of China-Europe relations, said Xi.

He also briefed Renzi about the sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which was held in late October.

For his part, Renzi said Italy highly appreciates China’s development achievements, and intends to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative,

The two countries, both ancient civilizations with a long-standing friendship, have witnessed a sound development of their ties, said the Italian prime minister.

He added that Italy is willing to work with China to further their cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, energy, innovation, culture and tourism.

Meanwhile, Italy is committed to boosting China-Europe relations, and working with China to maintain world peace and stability, he said.

Xi is scheduled to pay state visits to Ecuador, Peru and Chile from Nov. 17 to 23. During the tour, he will attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting from Nov. 19 to 20 in Lima, capital city of Peru.

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