Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, meets with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani in Rome, Italy on Feb 16, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)
China is ready to deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation with Italy to bring bilateral relations to a higher level, a senior Chinese diplomat said here Thursday.
China attaches great importance to Sino-Italian relations, and the ancient Silk Road connected the two peoples, Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said during his meeting with Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani.
Wang is on his first Europe tour this year. After France and Italy, he will continue his visits to Hungary and Russia, and is expected to deliver a speech at the China session of the upcoming 59th Munich Security Conference.
Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said that China has brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control, achieved a strong economic recovery and an orderly resumption of people-to-people exchanges with other countries.
He urged the two countries to restart exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and act as soon as possible to make up for the time lost due to the pandemic.
The signing of the document on the joint construction of the Belt and Road between China and Italy has greatly elevated the strategic level of bilateral relations, Wang said.
China and Italy signed in Rome in 2019 a memorandum of understanding to jointly advance the construction of the Belt and Road during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the country.
The two sides can tap the potential of cooperation in green and digital sectors, and in third-party markets, and push for more positive results in the China-Italy relations which are positive assets, Wang said.
China is ready to import more quality products from Italy, support Italian companies in expanding their share in the Chinese market, and hopes Italy will provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies, he said.
As of October 2022, China played as Italy's largest trade partner in Asia, while Italy as China's fourth-largest trade partner in the European Union, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
China values Italy's status and influence in the international arena, and is ready to work with Italy to safeguard the core position of the United Nations (UN), uphold norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, advocate and practice multilateralism, and promote democracy in international relations and economic globalization, Wang said.
The senior diplomat said he also looks forward to Italy's positive contribution to the development of China-Europe relations.
Tajani said that Italy and China enjoy a long-term friendly relationship.
In the face of new circumstances in the post-pandemic era, Italy looks forward to resuming the bilateral cooperation mechanism with China as soon as possible, holding the 11th Joint Meeting of Italy-China Government Committee and the meeting of the two countries' Joint Commission for Economic and Trade Cooperation at an early date, and strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.
Europe and China are important markets for each other, and the two sides should strengthen cooperation, promote two-way investment, and expand trade, Tajani said.
The Italian side attaches importance to international affairs such as the reform of the UN Security Council, and is willing to strengthen coordination with China, he added.
The two sides also exchanged in-depth views on the Ukraine issue. Wang emphasized that China has always been committed to promoting peace talks on the issue.
The more complicated the situation is, the more necessary it is to hold on to political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties, he said.
Tajani expressed his appreciation that China has always stood on the side of peace, and expressed willingness to strengthen cooperation with China and make joint efforts to promote peace talks.