BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's first overseas visit in 2019 has elevated China's ties with Italy, Monaco and France to a new level, and injected new impetus into China-Europe comprehensive strategic partnership, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L), French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd R), German Chancellor Angela Merkel (1st R) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attend the closing ceremony of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France in Paris, France, March 26, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
When the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi's Europe tour, hailed by the international community, is dedicated to deepening partnership for cooperation, improving global governance, and upholding multilateralism, which shows China's sense of responsibility as a major country, Wang said.
In six days, the Chinese president attended over 40 events during his visit to five cities including Rome, Palermo, Monaco, Nice and Paris, Wang noted, adding that it is a trip of friendship, cooperation and exploration that has delivered fruitful results.
Friendship & mutual benefit
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, and next year will witness the 50th anniversary of China-Italy diplomatic relations.
At meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Xi agreed with them to further intensify high-level exchanges, consolidate political mutual trust, and elevate bilateral relations, Wang said.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties. During their meetings, Xi agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to forge a more solid, stable and vibrant China-France comprehensive strategic partnership, and continue to explore the way for major countries to get along with each other, which should feature independence, mutual understanding, foresight, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, Wang said.
In the joint statement issued by China and France on jointly safeguarding multilateralism and improving global governance, the two sides pledged to build international relations of mutual respect, equality, justice, and win-win cooperation on the basis of respecting international laws and the basic principles of international norms, Wang said.
Speaking of Xi's visit to Monaco, Wang said leaders of the two countries have agreed to firmly stick to the correct direction of bilateral relations, adhere to openness and cooperation, and pursue more win-win results so as to jointly elevate the China-Monaco relations into a new era.
During Xi's talks with Prince Albert II, head of state of the Principality of Monaco, the Chinese president said both sides should adhere to openness and cooperation and pursue more win-win results, adding that China welcomes Monaco to actively participate in the joint development of the Belt and Road.
Building Belt & Road, deepening practical cooperation
Wang hailed Italian government's forethought and pragmatism over its decision of endorsing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying Xi and Mattarella agreed that China and Italy, which are at the two ends of the ancient Silk Road, are natural partners in constructing the Belt and Road.
Conte, according to Wang, said the BRI will bring great opportunities to Italy. He also agreed to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing next month.
France is one of the earliest European countries that have expressed the willingness to take part in the BRI cooperation. During Xi's visit to France, the two countries signed agreements on the third round of the BRI-related demonstration projects in third-party markets and kicked off a third-party market fund, Wang said.
At the closing session of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France, Macron said the BRI is significant and can play an important role in world peace, stability and development, adding that the EU could align its development strategy with the BRI in an innovative way and jointly promote Eurasian connectivity.
Promoting China-EU ties
Following his visits to Spain and Portugal in late 2018, Xi came to Europe again in his first overseas trip this year, manifesting the great importance China attaches to Europe, Wang said.
In a world of unprecedented transformations, Xi noted that a stable, strategic and reciprocal China-EU relationship is urgently needed.
Wang said during his visit, Xi had in-depth communication with the European leaders to discuss cooperation in international issues and reached important consensus of adhering to multilateralism, and discarding isolationism and unilateral moves.
He also said Xi and the European leaders agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation within the UN system, give full play to the constructive role of global and regional multilateral mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and Group of 20 and the EU, and actively contribute to solving international conflicts, combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.
In his keynote speech at the global governance forum, Xi raised "four deficits" in global affairs including governance deficit, trust deficit, peace deficit and development deficit. To address these deficits, he proposed a four-pronged approach of fairness and reasonableness, consultation and understanding, joint efforts and mutual assistance and mutual benefit and win-win results.
It is advisable to pursue an innovation-driven, well-coordinated and inter-connected, and fair and inclusive approach and forge a growth model of vitality, a cooperation model of openness and win-win results, and a development model of balance and common benefits, so that people from across the world could share the benefits of economic globalization, Xi said.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Wang said.
During his visit, Xi, based on China's just-concluded Two Sessions earlier this month, illustrated to the European leaders the fine performances of the Chinese economy which had overcome multiple challenges in 2018.
Wang said Xi also introduced the newly-adopted foreign investment law, emphasizing that it is necessary to use legal means to better protect intellectual property rights and attract foreign investment.
Xi pointed out that China will continue to push forward all-round reform and opening-up, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, so that European friends can better share China's development opportunities.
The European leaders said they are glad to see a greater development in China, and the EU welcomes China's willingness to share its development opportunities.
Chinese enterprises are welcome to invest in European countries, said the European leaders, adding that they will not adopt restrictive measures against specific companies, and are willing to provide a fair, open and transparent business environment for all foreign enterprises.
During the visit, Peng Liyuan, Xi's wife, also attended a number of events aimed at deepening cultural and educational exchanges between China and the European nations.
As a special envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the advancement of girls' and women's education, Peng was invited to visit the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris.
Wang said Peng's visit highlighted China's image of a hardworking, responsible major country that actively participates in international education, gender equality and other affairs.