BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday held a phone conversation with his Italian counterpart, Mario Draghi, with both sides pledging to promote bilateral ties and advance China-European Union (EU) cooperation to address global challenges.
Underlining their comprehensive strategic partnership, Li said China-Italy relations are rooted in a long history of exchanges and enjoy solid bond of interests.
Since last year, the two sides have joined hands to carry out international cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, and have achieved positive progress in key cooperation projects, Li noted.
China is willing to work with Italy to promote cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, energy and climate change, he said.
The Chinese premier called on the two sides to ensure the success of the China-Italy Year of Culture and Tourism to be held next year, expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and enhance cooperation in the framework of the Group of 20 (G20).
Li said he believes that the deepening of China-Italy relations and cooperation will help improve the well-being of people of the two countries.
China highly values its relations with the EU, Li said, adding that a united and prosperous EU is an importance force in preserving world peace, supporting multilateralism and promoting free trade.
The Chinese premier said he hopes that both sides should steer their relations in the right direction, stick to an open mindset to advance pragmatic cooperation and settle differences through dialogue and coordination based on mutual respect.
Noting that China-EU cooperation will contribute to world economic recovery, Li said both sides should work jointly to put the agreement into effect at an early date.
Li said he expects Italy, an important member of the EU, to continue playing a positive role in promoting healthy and stable development of China-EU relations.
For his part, Draghi said Italy attaches great importance to its comprehensive strategic partnership with China and is ready to work with China to push forward important cooperation projects, deepen bilateral cooperation in energy, aviation, economy and trade, and investment.
Italy is willing to take the opportunity of the Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said.
Draghi said he appreciates China's support for Italy's work in its presidency at the G20, saying that Italy stands ready to strengthen communication and coordination with China on multilateral affairs, promote international cooperation on fighting COVID-19, boost global economic recovery and jointly address climate change and other challenges.
Noting that the EU-China investment agreement is an important consensus between the two sides, Draghi said Italy supports to advance the follow-up process of the treaty through dialogue at an early date.