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Chinese premier starts visit to Italy
Updated: 2004-05-07 10:43

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Rome Thursday for a three-day official visit to Italy to boost political, economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Wen's plane touched down at Rome's Fiumicino Airport at 5:35 p.m. local time (1535 GMT) after he wrapped up a two-day visit to Belgium and the European Union headquarters. He will attend a banquet hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini later in the day.

During his visit in Italy, the Chinese premier will hold talks with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, and met with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and speakers of the Chamberof Deputies and the Senate to exchange views on Sino-Italian and Sino-European ties and international issues of mutual concern.

Wen will address a proseminar on China-Italy investment and visit Italy's major space company Alenia Spazio. He will also fly to Florence on Saturday to continue his visit.

The friendship and cooperation between China and Italy in everyrespect have witnessed smooth development since the establishment of diplomatic ties 34 years ago. In recent years, the exchange of visits between leaders of the two countries has increased, thus promoting mutual understanding and bilateral relationship.

Italy is an important trading partner of China in the European Union. The Sino-Italian economic and technological cooperation hasalso witnessed rapid development over recent years.

Wen kicked off his 11-day Europe tour on Sunday, his first visit to the continent since taking office as premier one year ago.Italy is the third leg of the premier's five-nation tour, which has taken him to Germany and Belgium. He will also visit Britain and Ireland.

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