President answers letter of Rome high schoolers ahead of 6-day European trip
President Xi Jinping encouraged high school students in Rome to be "Marco Polo in the new era" and facilitate cultural exchanges between China and Italy.
Xi wrote a letter in reply to the principal and eight students of Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, a boarding school.
The president said he was pleased to see the students express their thoughts in fluent Chinese in their letter.
In 2009, the school opened an international high school that teaches science-related courses in Chinese.
The students said they got the chance to learn about China through the Confucius Classroom program and to see the vastness of the world and the value of cultural diversity.
The high school has cultivated young people that aspire to friendliness between China and Italy, Xi said.
He said he appreciated that the students are determined to promote the exchanges and dialogue of thought and cultures between the young people of the two countries and friendship between the two peoples.
Xi also welcomed the students to study and work in China, saying that he hoped the country could be one of the places where they realize their dreams.
The students also expressed their eager expectations for Xi's visit, as Italy will be the first stop of the president's six-day trip to Europe starting on Thursday. It will also take him to Monaco and France.
It will be the first visit of China's head of state to Italy in a decade. Xi is scheduled to have talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
"We believe this visit will further consolidate the political mutual trust between the two countries and deepen practical cooperation in various areas under the Belt and Road Initiative," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news conference on Monday.
Xi's visit to Monaco will be the first to the country by a Chinese head of state, which "bears historic significance for developing the China-Monaco relationship," Geng said.
"We wish to work with Monaco … and continue to be the example of friendliness and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different size," he said.
In France, Xi will have talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and meet with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
"China-Europe cooperation is crucial and important for reducing uncertainties in the current international situation and boosting the confidence of the global community," said Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.
China and Europe are supporters of multilateralism and have achieved many results in cooperation on global issues such as climate change and global governance, and "there is still huge potential for further cooperation", Ruan said.
China's newly approved Foreign Investment Law will also provide opportunities for Europe to further strengthen cooperation with China, given that it shows China's efforts to improve its domestic business environment, he added.