The China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership will have a better future with the joint efforts of both sides, President Xi Jinping said in a statement upon arrival in Rome on Thursday.
Xi is paying state visits to Italy, Monaco, and France, his first overseas trips of the year, from Thursday to Tuesday, and, noting that Italy was his first overseas destination of 2019, extended sincere greetings and best wishes to the Italian government and people.
During his time in Italy, Xi will hold talks with Italy's President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. He will also meet with presidents of the Senate of the Republic and the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
Xi and Conte will also jointly witness the signing of various intergovernmental cooperation documents and commercial agreements.
In his address, Xi congratulated Italy for its achievements in recent years, promoting economic development and improving people's livelihood.
Relations between China and Italy go back centuries, Xi said, with the ancient Silk Road having become a classic example of the exchanges between Eastern and Western civilizations.
He went on to say how, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries 49 years ago, China and Italy have upheld the principle of mutual respect, mutual trust, and win-win cooperation.
This relationship had set a good example to other countries of different social systems, cultural background and developmental periods, Xi added.
He also noted that, since the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2004, bilateral trade and investment have grown steadily, and cooperation in areas including energy, finance and high-end manufacturing has expanded.