BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- China is ready to advance its strategic partnership with Italy, Chinese President Hu Jintao said in Beijing Tuesday.
Hu made the remarks during talks with visiting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
Hu said he believed Napolitano's visit would turn a new page in China-Italy relations and advance the all-round strategic partnership.
Hu praised Napolitano for the importance he had attached to developing relations with China over the years, saying Napolitano was a statesman of vision.
Hu welcomed Napolitano to China and thanked him for his hostipality during his visit to Italy in July last year.
Napolitano said he was deeply moved by Hu's invitation and was glad to be in China again. The visit was an important event in his tenure as President of Italy.
Napolitano last visited China in the 1980s. He expressed appreciation of China's achievements in national development, saying the founding of the New China in 1949 was a significant event in history.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic links between China and Italy, Napolitano will attend a reception in Beijing Wednesday. The two countries have jointly held a series of activities under the title of "Year of Chinese Culture" in Italy this year.
The "Year of Chinese Culture" involves bilateral exchanges in culture, trade, economy, education, science, technology, environment and tourism. They are aimed at enhancing mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries. Displays of historical and cultural heritage and cooperation are the highlights of the activities.
Napolitano arrived in Beijing Sunday for a state visit. He will meet with Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing.
In an interview with Xinhua before this visit, Napolitano said his visit would "help advance the very constructive bilateral relations." He attributed the growth of bilateral links to the consensus that the heads of state of both countries reached in 2004 on establishing an all-round strategic partnership.
In Beijing in 2004, President Hu and then Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi agreed to deepen and develop the all-round strategic partnership between the two countries.
Napolitano will visit Shanghai Thursday and Friday and attend the 2010 World Expo. He will return home early Saturday. In his company is Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.