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Step up the Peaks, Layer upon Layer to Widen Our Horizon
--State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Talks About President Xi Jinping's Visits to Italy, Monaco and France
2019-03-27

From March 21 to 26, 2019, President Xi Jinping paid state visits to Italy, Monaco and France upon invitation. At the end of the visits, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi introduced the visits to the accompanying reporters.

Wang Yi said that it was the spring equinox and the "Two Sessions" had just concluded. President Xi Jinping flew to Europe, starting his first visit of the year, ushering in a new journey for China's relations with Italy, Monaco and France, pushing forward the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative to open up new space in the Eurasian continent and injecting new impetus into the China-European Union (EU) comprehensive strategic partnership. As a Chinese poem goes "step up the peaks, layer upon layer to widen our horizon." In the face of unprecedented changes unseen in a century, President Xi Jinping's visit is committed to deepening partnership, improving global governance and upholding multilateralism. And it reflects China's sense of realm and responsibility as a major responsible country and has been highly appraised by the public at home and abroad.

President Xi Jinping visited Rome, Palermo, Monaco, Nice and Paris in six days, attended more than 40 events, talked about friendly exchanges with European leaders, wrote a new chapter of comprehensive cooperation and drew a blueprint for future development. This visit is a major diplomatic arrangement made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with the current international situation in mind. It is a journey of friendship, cooperation and exploration to deepen East-West relations, leaving beautiful memories and achieving fruitful outcomes.

Ⅰ. Carry Forward Bilateral Friendship to Deepen Mutual Benefit and Win-win Results

Wang Yi said that Italy and France are major countries and they are China's comprehensive strategic partners. Monaco, though small in size, is one of the friendliest European countries to China. The visit to Italy is the second one by a Chinese head of state to Italy after a 10-year hiatus; the visit to Monaco is the first one for the Chinese head of state; and the visit to France is the second one for President Xi Jinping after a 5-year hiatus.

Consolidate political mutual trust and lead steady development of bilateral relations.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership and the two countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year. The development of bilateral relations faces important opportunities. President Xi Jinping, President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and other leaders agreed to maintain close high-level exchanges, enhance exchanges of ideas, consolidate political mutual trust and upgrade bilateral relations. China and Italy issued a joint communique on strengthening their comprehensive strategic partnership, stressing that the two sides are willing to further promote the development of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership in the spirit of mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win results.

France is the first major Western country to establish official diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. China-France relations have maintained a high-level, sound and steady development in recent years. President Xi Jinping stressed to President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and other French leaders that France is the first country to forge a strategic partnership and conduct strategic dialogue with China as well as the first to carry out civilian nuclear-energy cooperation with China. To keep China-France relations on the right path, political mutual trust is the key; practical cooperation is the driving force; and national sentiment is the foundation. The two sides agreed to build a more solid, stable and vigorous China-France comprehensive strategic partnership and continue to explore the path of major-country relations featuring independence, mutual understanding, visionary thinking and mutual benefit and win-win results. The two sides issued a joint statement on jointly upholding multilateralism and improving global governance, and spoke with one voice in response to the challenges facing the current international community. Both sides also stressed that the two countries will promote the building of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation on the basis of respecting international law and basic norms governing international relations.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Monaco more than 20 years ago, both countries have always treated each other as equals with sincerity and friendship, advanced with the times and carried out cooperation, blazing a trail of friendly exchanges between big and small countries. Monaco's head of state, Prince Albert II of Monaco, made his 10th visit to China last September, forming a "magic destiny" with China. President Xi Jinping's return visit to Monaco ushered in a new era of China-Monaco friendly cooperation. The two heads of state agreed to firmly grasp the right direction of bilateral relations, adhere to openness and cooperation, deepen mutual benefit and win-win results, constantly enrich the connotation of people-to-people and cultural exchanges and work together to create an even better future for China-Monaco relations.

Jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative and drive the in-depth development of practical cooperation.

Wang Yi said that wherever President Xi Jinping goes, the east wind of the Belt and Road Initiative will reach and the fruits of practical cooperation will be harvested. During his visit to Europe, President Xi Jinping came to the other end of the ancient Silk Road, connecting Eurasian continent in the new era with Belt and Road Initiative.

The strategic decision of the Italian government to participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative reflects its truth-seeking pragmatism and foresight. President Xi Jinping and President Sergio Mattarella agreed that China and Italy, as two ends of the ancient Silk Road, are natural cooperation partners for jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most important one that Italy and China should carry out and it will bring great opportunities to Italy. He agreed to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation summit to be held in Beijing next month. China and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, adding new impetus into Asia-Europe connectivity construction and expansion of global cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. China and Italy reached consensus to align the Belt and Road Initiative with Italy's plan to develop its northern ports and the InvestItalia program, and tap into the potential of bilateral cooperation.

France was one of the first European countries to express its willingness to participate in the cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. For some time, the two sides have made positive progress in jointly and comprehensively building the Belt and Road Initiative and third-party market cooperation. During President Xi Jinping's visit, China and France signed the list of the third round of demonstration projects for third-party market cooperation and launched the third-party market cooperation fund to jointly create a pivot for cooperation between both countries under the Belt and Road Initiative. The two sides decided to promote existing cooperation on major projects in traditional strategic areas, accelerate strategic alignment and all-round cooperation in emerging fields such as scientific and technological innovation, agriculture and finance, and further deepen the convergence of industrial interests between the two countries.

When holding a meeting in Paris, the leaders of China, France, Germany and the EU also held constructive discussions on jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, and all parties showed positive attitude. President Emmanuel Macron said at the closing ceremony of the Global Governance Forum that the Chinese side's Belt and Road Initiative is of great significance and will play an important role in promoting world peace and development. The EU is willing to deeply align the Europe-Asia connectivity strategy with the Belt and Road Initiative and carry out innovation cooperation.

China-Monaco economic and trade cooperation is characterized by pragmatism, efficiency and flexibility. In recent years, bilateral cooperation has developed rapidly. Enterprises of the two countries have made Monaco the first country with full coverage of 5G network in Europe, demonstrating the common willingness of both sides to adhere to openness and cooperation and deepen mutual benefit. During his talks with Prince Albert II, President Xi Jinping had earnest discussions on how the Monacan side could take an active part in co-building the Belt and Road Initiative by combining Monaco's location and industrial advantages and carry out various forms of cooperation with the Chinese side, including the development of third-party market.

During the visit, President Xi Jinping and President Sergio Mattarella and President Emmanuel Macron met respectively with representatives of entrepreneurs from China, Italy and France and encouraged them to contribute more strength and wisdom to bilateral cooperation. China has signed dozens of cooperation documents with Italy and France respectively, covering finance, energy, agriculture, shipping, aerospace, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure construction, artificial intelligence, telecommunications, and third-party market cooperation, fully demonstrating the huge potential of bilateral practical cooperation.

Carry forward traditional friendship and promote the substantial development of people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

Wang Yi said that Italy and France are outstanding representatives of European civilizations. Monaco is the jewel of the Mediterranean coast. The culture between China and the three countries has added radiance and charm to each other, and traditional friendship among the three countries has been brimming with new vitality.

The three countries gave President Xi Jinping the most solemn and warm reception, and held grand welcome ceremonies at the Italian presidential palace, the royal palace of Monaco and the Arc de Triomphe in France respectively. President Sergio Mattarella specially held a small concert for President Xi Jinping and his wife after the state banquet, inviting the famous singer Andrea Bocelli for performance. Emmanuel Macron and his wife made a special trip to Nice to hold a small-scale dinner for President Xi Jinping and his wife. They presented President Xi Jinping with the original French version of "An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius," published in 1688. Before President Xi Jinping and his wife left France, Emmanuel Macron and his wife also held a grand farewell ceremony at the Élysée Palace. Prince Albert II and his wife specially decorated the palace with Chinese antiques and arranged Monacan young people to recite poetry of the Tang Dynasty during the banquet they held for President Xi Jinping and his wife. Italy and France dispatched combat aircrafts to escort President Xi Jinping's special plane, and arranged the cavalry guards and motorbike fleet to escort President Xi Jinping's motorcade along the way.

President Xi Jinping has recalled the special origins and profound friendship between China and the countries he visited. From the dissemination and exchange of Chinese and European culture by Marco Polo and Voltaire to the historic decision made by Chairman Mao Zedong and General Charles de Gaulle to establish diplomatic relations between China and France, we have deepened our mutual understanding and brought our hearts closer. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Diligent Work-Frugal Study Movement. China and France will hold a series of commemorative activities to bring about a new upsurge in people-to-people and cultural exchanges. China and Italy as well as China and France signed cooperation documents in such areas as culture, sports and education to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. The Italian side decided to return the confiscated Chinese cultural relics to the Chinese side. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited the relics together. The two heads of state of China and Monaco jointly decided to promote the in-depth development of bilateral exchanges and cooperation in such areas as sports, culture and tourism. Prince Albert II actively supports China in hosting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. President Xi Jinping welcomed the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to carry out environmental protection public-service activities in China and constantly enrich the connotation of people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

Wang Yi said that China-Italy, China-Monaco and China-France relations have stood the test of international vicissitudes and become models of friendly cooperation between countries with different cultures, systems, sizes and stages of development. President Xi Jinping's visits are an important practice in promoting the building of a new type of international relations with win-win cooperation as the core.

Ⅱ. Elevate China-EU Relations to Tackle Global Challenges

Wang Yi said that President Xi Jinping's visits to the three countries transcended bilateral scope. Leaders of China and the EU have held close dialogues, in-depth communication and coordination on issues concerning China-EU relations and global governance, which has injected confidence into the maintenance of multilateralism and received much attention from the international community.

Lay a solid and important foundation for the development of China-EU relations.

President Xi Jinping made his first visit to Europe this year again after his successful visit to Spain and Portugal at the end of last year, which showed that China's diplomacy attaches great importance to Europe. President Xi Jinping held in-depth talks with leaders of the three countries he visited and with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany who made a special trip to Paris. Leaders of China, France, Germany and the EU also held special meetings, sending out a clear message to the world that China and the EU will strengthen strategic mutual trust and deepen strategic cooperation. President Xi Jinping analyzed the once-in-a-century changes facing the world today and underlined that China-EU relations should be more stable in the face of the international situation full of uncertainties. President Xi Jinping pointed out that the Chinese side values the strategic position and role of Europe, and stressed that China-EU relations should be strategic as China and Europe are both important forces in safeguarding multilateralism and free trade. President Xi Jinping called for the alignment of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asia-Europe connectivity strategy of the EU as well as the improvement of Eurasian connectivity, and emphasized that China-EU relations should be mutually beneficial. Leaders of the European side said that China has become a crucial global force, and the EU stands ready to value China's growing influence from a strategic perspective, constantly deepen EU-China relations and consolidate mutual trust and support. Strengthening solidarity and cooperation between the EU and China is not only in line with the common interests of both sides, but will also make the world more balanced.

Reach the important consensus on safeguarding multilateralism.

Europe is an important initiator, builder and participant of the current international system and also an active supporter of multilateralism at present. During his visits, President Xi Jinping had in-depth communication with European leaders, discussed cooperation in global affairs and reached the important consensus on upholding multilateralism and abandoning isolation and unilateral acts. President Xi Jinping appreciated Italy and France for their foresight and spirit of independence as well as their ability to make correct choices at critical moments in history. President Xi Jinping stressed that Italy, France and Germany, as major countries with global influence, and China and France, as permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, as well as China and Europe, as the two major forces in a multi-polar world, share extensive common pursuits and many common ideas. Leaders of China and the EU agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation in 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, the G20 and the EU, and make positive contributions to promoting political settlement of international disputes, and tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development. These consensuses conform to the trend of the times and the general expectations of the international community, injecting stability, certainty and predictability into the world full of uncertainties.

Put forward the important idea of improving global governance.

During his visit to France, President Xi Jinping attended the China-France Global Governance Forum and delivered an important speech to clarify China's views and propositions on global governance in the light of the current international situation. President Xi Jinping clearly pointed out that the international community is facing four major challenges: the governance deficit, the trust deficit, the peace deficit and the development deficit. President Xi Jinping proposed a four-pronged approach to addressing the "four deficits" in global affairs-- fairness and reasonableness, mutual consultation and understanding, joint efforts and mutual assistance, and mutual benefit and win-win results. President Xi Jinping underlined that the international community should put mutual respect and mutual trust in the first place, make use of dialogue and consultation, seek common ground while shelving and narrowing differences, enhance strategic trust, and reduce mutual suspicion. President Xi Jinping reiterated that the international community should adhere to upholding a vision of global governance featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and taking a right approach to justice and interests by putting justice before interests, uphold a new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and jointly push for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, in a bid to realize long-term peace and common development in the world. President Xi Jinping put forward that the international community should adhere to pursuing an innovation-driven, well-coordinated and inter-connected, and fair and inclusive approach, and on this basis, forge a growth model of vitality, a cooperation model of openness and win-win results as well as a development model of balance and common benefits, so that people across the world could share the benefits of economic globalization. Leaders of the European side appreciated China's leading role in global governance reform and expressed their willingness to further strengthen solidarity and cooperation with the Chinese side.

Wang Yi said that President Xi Jinping, with the grand vision and strategic thinking of statesman and strategist as well as with a focus on Europe and a global perspective based on his visits to the three countries, has become a mainstay in the chaotic world as he stands firm on the right side of history with development and progress, holds high the banner of building a community with a shared future for mankind, promotes China-EU relations, upholds multilateralism, and guides the direction of global governance reform.

Ⅲ. Spread the Chinese Story and Look Forward to the Common Vision

Wang Yi said that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). In the extraordinary journey of endeavor the PRC has travelled over the past 7 decades, great changes have taken place to the Chinese people. This topic arouses a great deal of interests from the leaders of the European countries, and is also the Chinese story that President Xi Jinping wants to elaborate on the most.

Decode the successful experience of the Chinese path

Reviewing the great achievements since the founding of the PRC, President Xi Jinping quoted from the remarks of a world famous economist that China has made it possible for the first time in human history to elevate the living standards by 100 times in a human being's life cycle, and also exerted significant impact on the world population and global economy. President Xi Jinping has responded to the issues that the international society concerned the most, and unveiled the enlightenment of the great achievements of China's development. The first is that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, we have blazed a trail suitable for China's conditions, namely the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Second, we have unswervingly carried out reform and opening up. It is a critical move which determines the destiny of today's China, and a critical move in realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Third, we have adhered to the path of peaceful development to realize common development and build a community with a shared future for mankind. The leaders of the European side congratulated China on the huge development achievements, and expressed that the comparison of today's China with the one 70 years earlier, especially the one which just began of reform and opening up about 40 years ago was extremely impressive. The European side is willing to strengthen dialogue and communication with the Chinese side to further enhance understanding of each other and expand practical cooperation.

Share the historic opportunities of China's development

By introducing the just concluded "Two Sessions" of China, President Xi Jinping shared the excellent performance of China's economy in overcoming multiple challenges in 2018 with leaders of the European side. He quoted the authoritative data of the rise of the rankings of China's overall tariff level and business environment to show the fact that business environment of China's market has been rapidly improved. He introduced the foreign investment law China has issued, emphasizing that we will better protect intellectual property and attract foreign investment through legal means. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China will continuously push for all-round reform and opening up, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation to enable the European friends to better share China's development opportunities. During the visits, President Xi Jinping also actively guide leaders of the European side to objectively and rationally view China's development and investment of Chinese enterprises, which embodies the spirit of opening up in both ways. Leaders of the European side said that they were glad to see greater development in China, and the EU welcomed China's willingness to share its development opportunities. Leaders of the European side also clearly welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in European countries, and stated that they would not adopt any restrictions on specific enterprises, and were willing to provide a fair, open and transparent business environment for all foreign enterprises including Chinese enterprises.

During the visits, Professor Peng Liyuan carried out first-lady diplomacy, which propelled the people-to-people and cultural engagement between China and the three countries and showcased the affinity and soft power of China's diplomacy. As a Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls' and Women's Education of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Professor Peng Liyuan once again visited UNESCO Headquarters in Paris upon invitation, highlighting China's image as a responsible major country which is making active efforts in participating international education and gender equality.

Wang Yi said at last that President Xi Jinping has successfully visited the three European countries, raising the curtains of China's diplomacy in this year. 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and also the 70th anniversary of the diplomacy of the PRC. As a Chinese poem goes, "the rosy clouds would permanently exist in the new skies". Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, we must spare no efforts to well hold the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, constantly promote the building of global partnership, resolutely safeguard world peace and stability, participate in guiding global governance in an in-depth manner and facilitate domestic reform and development more actively, so as to make greater contributions to realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and advancing peace and development of the mankind.

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