Milan Expo 2015 to boost Sino-Italian ties

Updated: 2012-01-26 10:02


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MILAN, Italy - The Milan Expo 2015 will boost ties between Italy and China, local officials said here on Wednesday.

Speaking at the meeting "Italy-China, hosting and attending universal expositions in the 21st century," Giuseppe Sala, CEO of Expo 2015, said so far 70 countries including China have confirmed their participation.

"The time has come to intensify our relations with China," he said, adding that organizers of the Shanghai Expo 2010 were helping their Milan counterparts "to understand what Expo is."

After the successful Shanghai Expo, whose Italian pavilion was visited by nearly 8 million people, the Milan Expo themed "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" will be a driving force to further consolidating the durable friendship between the two countries, Italian ambassador to the People's Republic of China Attilio Massimo Iannucci said in his speech at the meeting.

In the current debt-driven crisis, Italians have started to look at China as a sheet anchor, which is a turning point in bilateral relations, Iannucci said.

"Italians need to learn from famous missionary Matteo Ricci, basing their relation with China on five pillars of patience, tenacity, reciprocity, commitment and respect," he said.

He also told Xinhua many cultural initiatives are helping Chinese and Italians to better know each other, such a four-month course of Chinese language and culture at Peking University attended by young Italian diplomats who prepare to take office in China.

Another important achievement, he added, was a record 70-percent increase in the number of tourist visa released last year to Chinese travelers by the Italian authorities.

"In fact, culture generates friendship," said Cesare Romiti, the president of Italy-China Foundation as well as of UnItalia, a new project aimed at attracting Chinese students to Italian universities.

"It is important to constantly keep in mind that Italy and China have in common a millenary history, which makes the two countries easily be in tune," he said, adding that such "cultural basis" will be fundamental also in the Milan Expo.

"The Chinese government is attaching great importance to the event, which represents a platform to strengthen friendship and exchanges," said Zhao Qiusheng, Chief Representative of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Italy (CCPIT).

"Sharing our experiences accumulated during the Shanghai Expo will also be a pleasant way to strengthen bilateral cooperation," he said.