China and Italy pledged on Monday to cement their comprehensive strategic partnership to benefit the two nations and peoples.
"China is willing to expand cooperation with Italy on trade and investment and especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)," Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
Hu said China and Italy have broad prospects within which to promote bilateral ties as the two nations have no conflicts or disputes or any unresolved issues.
He spoke highly of Prodi's long-term efforts in the development of China-Italy and China-EU ties, saying bilateral relations have witnessed increasing political mutual trust, and expanding bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Calling the Year of Italy in China "a big success," Hu proposed that the two nations intensify exchanges in the science and technology, education and culture sectors.
Hu also expressed appreciation for Italy's one-China policy.
China would like to deepen strategic cooperation with Europe, raising the quality and level of cooperation, Hu said.
Prodi, who started his six-day official visit to China last Wednesday, said the visit had achieved many positive results, strongly pushing forward the partnership between Italy and China.
He said Italy valued ties with China, viewing it as an important partner and would boost exchanges and cooperation on economy and trade, environmental protection, culture and education.
Italy would encourage its SMEs to participate in China's economic construction, Prodi said, adding that Italy would like to become the gateway for Chinese enterprises to Europe.
He affirmed Italy's adherence to the one-China policy.
Prodi also said his country would exert a positive influence on promoting EU-China relations.
The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.
Prodi, who is in Beijing at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, arrived in the Chinese capital on Sunday. Beijing is the last leg of his China tour. He also visited Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin.
(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2006)