FLORENCE, Italy, May 22 (Xinhua) -- China's top lawmaker Wu Bangguo said here on Friday that China and Italy both have long-standing cultural traditions and should strengthen their cultural exchanges.
Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of China, made the remarks while meeting with Riccardo Nencini, president of the local Parliament of Tuscany Region in Italy.
Wu arrived in Florence on Friday afternoon to continue his official goodwill visit to Italy.
Nencini recalled the visit to Florence by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2004, saying he is glad to receive yet another senior Chinese leader in the region.
Wu said during Premier Wen's visit some five years ago, the two countries officially launched an all-round strategic partnership. Since then, bilateral links have been growing rapidly.
Noting that the two countries share a long-standing friendship, Wu said China and Italy are enjoying the best ever period of their relationship in history.
In a review of his meetings with leaders of the Italian government and parliament during this visit, Wu said the two sides share a strong will to further advance bilateral links and cooperation.
Nencini said the Tuscany Region has forged friendly relations with a number of provinces and municipalities in China. In the past years, the Tuscany Region has developed close trade and economic links with China, as well as vigorous cultural exchanges.
Nencini hopes that the region would continue to explore broader areas of cooperation with China, including university education.
Wu will conclude his visit on Sunday.