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Wang Yi Summarizes the Development Experience of China-Italy Relations in the Past 50 Years

On August 25, 2020 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio met the press together in Rome.

Wang Yi said, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy, which is an important historical moment that inherit the past and usher in the future. Reviewing the past, he attributed the steady and healthy development of China-Italy relations in half a century filled with changes to three factors.

Firstly, as outstanding representatives of Eastern and Western civilizations, China and Italy always appreciate and accommodate each other, respect the development path chosen by the people in the other country from a cultural perspective, and support each other's legitimate concerns on issues of core interests.

Secondly, as major economies in the world, both China and Italy have always adhered to openness and cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win results. At present, China has become Italy's largest trading partner in Asia and Italy is the 4th largest trading partner of China in the European Union. Both sides demonstrate a welcoming attitude towards each other's investment. China's direct investment in Italy has exceeded 10 billion US dollars, and there are more than 6,000 Italian investment projects in China.

Thirdly, as friends and partners enjoy profound friendship, both sides always lend a helping hand when the other country encounters difficulties. From the Wenchuan earthquake in China in 2008 to this year's COVID-19 pandemic, the two governments and two peoples have joined hands in tiding over difficulties and witnessed touching stories that demonstrate that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Wang Yi said, looking forward to the future, China and Italy should work together to plan for the development in the next 50 years.

The joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative should be an important driving force for deepening bilateral cooperation. China and Italy are "natural partners" in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, since the two countries had been closely connected more than 1,000 years ago thanks to the ancient Silk Road. Italy became the first major Western country last year to sign a document on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Chinese side. Since then, both sides have achieved major results in such fields as energy, manufacturing of cruise ships, construction of ports, and third-market development, which are a good starting point for cooperation. Both countries should further carry on the Silk Road spirit, have more people involved, and bring more visible achievements to the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to inject new impetus to the sustainable development of the global economy.

The two countries should hold high the flag banner of safeguarding multilateralism. China and Italy are major countries responsible for world peace and development, so both countries should vigorously promote the process of multilateralism and trade liberalization and maintain the safe operation of the global industrial chain and supply chain. Italy will assume the presidency of the G20 next year, and the Chinese side will actively support the Italian side's work and make positive contributions to furthering the reform of global governance in the post-pandemic era and the early recovery of the world economy.

Promoting equal dialogue among different civilizations is an international obligation that should be bravely fulfilled by China and Italy. Facing the challenges and problems in an era of globalization and digitalization, China and Italy could draw wisdom and inspirations from traditional cultures and predecessors, set examples in promoting dialogue among different civilizations based on mutual learning and equal footing, and guide all parties to work out a feasible solution to global governance. Both countries should also work with other countries to bear in mind the well-being of mankind, follow the trend of the times, promote the international community to resolve differences through dialogue, replace confrontation with cooperation, eliminate divisions with unity, and join hands to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

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