FLORENCE, Italy, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao said Tuesday that China highly values its relations with Italy and is willing to broaden consensus and deepen pragmatic cooperation with the country in various fields.
Bilateral relations have developed smoothly since China and Italy established diplomatic relations 39 years ago, Hu said at a meeting with senior Italian officials, including Culture Minister Sandro Bondi and Toscana Region's President Claudio Martini.
He added that the two countries have further deepened their cooperation in politics, economy, culture and other fields especially since they set up an all-around strategic partnership in 2004.
On regional cooperation between the two countries, the president said he is convinced that with the joint efforts from both sides, new achievements will be made in cooperation between Toscana Region and relevant regions in China.
Bondi and other Italian officials welcomed Hu's visit to Florence, capital of Toscana Region, and said they were inspired by China's development over the past years and would enhance exchanges with China so as to bring the friendly relations at the local level to a new height.
Italy will actively participate in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and strive to ensure the "Chinese Culture Year" next year in Italy a success, the officials added.
Hu arrived in Rome on Sunday for a state visit to Italy.