China-EU relations to inject new impetus

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visits to Italy, Monaco and France are expected to inject new impetus into China-EU relations, a senior official said Wednesday.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that Xi would pay state visits to the three European countries from March 21 to 26, at the invitation of Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Head of State of the Principality of Monaco Albert II and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Xi’s visit to Europe will be the first overseas trip in 2019 by the Chinese head of state, also the top leader of the Communist Party of China, bearing historic significance for the development of relations between China and the three countries, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao told a press briefing.

Noting that Italy is an important member country of the G20 and Europe Union, Wang said this year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Italy, and next year will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties. “Bilateral relations of the two countries are faced with important opportunities.”

Xi’s visit to Italy will be of historic significance in building on the past and opening up the future for the bilateral relations, Wang said.

During his visit to Italy, Xi will hold talks with President Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, meet with the president of the Senate of the Republic and the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and the two sides will exchange in-depth views on China-Italy, China-EU relations as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest.

“President Xi and Prime Minister Conte will jointly witness the signing of intergovernmental cooperation documents in fields of diplomacy, economy and trade, culture, as well as commercial agreements in infrastructure, machinery and finance,” Wang said, adding that the two sides would strengthen Belt and Road cooperation.

Xi will also visit Palermo, the capital of the island of Sicily, Wang said.

Noting that China and Monaco have set an example of friendly relations between countries of different sizes, Wang said Xi’s visit to Monaco, the first-ever one by a Chinese president, will be of historic significance to bilateral relations.

Xi will hold talks with Prince Albert II during his visit to Monaco and they will exchange views on issues such as politics, economy, humanities and environmental protection, and jointly open up a new era of China-Monaco relations, Wang said. –Xinhua

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