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Chinese president's visit to Italy set to boost bilateral ties, partnership: Italian expert (07/03/09)


ROME, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao's forthcoming visit to Italy ahead of the G8 summit paves the way for stronger bilateral ties, an Italian expert told Xinhua in an interview.

Luca La Bella, a China analyst with Rome's International Studies Center, said that in the past decades, political, economic and cultural relations between Italy and China have improved. "Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Italy will reinforce this strategic collaboration," he said.

Hu will attend a meeting between the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) and emerging economies from July 8 to 10 in L'Aquila.

Before the G8 summit, he will pay a state visit to Italy from July 5 to 8 at the invitation of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. After the G8 meeting, the Chinese leader will visit Portugal from July 10 to 11.

China-Italy ties have maintained a sound momentum of rapid development, especially since 2004, when the two countries forged the first all-round strategic partnership to boost political and economic cooperation, La Bella said.

"The Italian Culture Year in China of 2006 was very successful," La Bella said. "Institutional exchange and business ties have increased. Reciprocal awareness of each other's culture and history is now greater."

The Italian firms in China enjoy Chinese government's support, the expert said, "Trade exchanges have increased. Italy imports from China technological goods, and exports Italian fashions and brands to China."

The two presidents will surely discuss in their meeting the upcoming Chinese Year of Culture in Italy, scheduled for 2010. It will be China's turn this time to be culturally, economically and politically present in Italy, La Bella said.

Numerous events are planned for the Chinese Year in Italy, which marks celebrations of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

It will be an opportunity for high level political, economic and cultural exchanges between Chinese and Italian leaders and industry representatives.

According to La Bella, fostering bilateral ties with China is of crucial importance to Italy.

China and Italy are well-tuned politically as well, he added. "Italy pursues the one-China policy and is a front runner in lifting the arms embargo against China," he said.


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