ROME: Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday pledged their countries' efforts to further promote bilateral relations and cooperation in a number of areas.
During a meeting with Berlusconi, Hu said he was pleased that the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Italy has maintained good momentum.
He said Italy is an all-around strategic partner of China, and also a trustworthy friend of China's within the European Union.
China attaches great importance to its relations with Italy and strengthening ties with Italy is a firm policy of China, he added.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries and China is ready to work with Italy to strengthen communication and coordination on major international and regional issues and promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields so as to bring their all-around strategic partnership to a higher level, Hu said.
President Hu also offered a three-point proposal for boosting bilateral ties, including deepening economic and trade cooperation, exploring new areas of cooperation and enhancing cultural and human exchanges.
Agreeing entirely with Hu's views and proposals with regard to the development of bilateral ties, Berlusconi said Italy is ready to join hands with China to further bilateral cooperation in a number of fields.
Noting the smooth development of bilateral ties in recent years, the Italian prime minister also pointed out that both sides were making efforts to push ahead with their cooperation regardless of the impact of the international financial crisis.
China has played a vital role in the international arena and the two countries share consensus on a wide range of international issues, he said.
He said Italy is willing to enhance cooperation with China in making the joint celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties a success.
The two leaders also exchanged views on ways of tackling the global financial crisis, fighting climate change and advancing the Doha Round talks.
After their meeting, the two leaders attended the signing ceremony for a number of cooperation documents between the two countries.
Italy is China's fifth largest trading partner within the European Union. Bilateral trade reached more than US$38 billion in 2008, which is close to the target of US$40 billion set by the two sides for the year of 2010.
The Chinese president arrived here Sunday for a state visit. He will also attend the outreach session of the Group of Eight (G8) summit scheduled for Thursday in the central Italian city of L'Aquila.
At the outreach session, leaders of the G8 nations as well as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, and Egypt, a special guest of the Italian president, will discuss a number of pressing issues including the world economy, the financial crisis, and international trade.
This will be the sixth time that the Chinese president has attended the G8 outreach session. The previous one took place in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako last July.
The G8, an informal forum of leading industrialized nations, groups Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, the United States, Canada and Russia.