Xi said China to strengthen comprehensive strategic partnership with Italy
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday published a signed article in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of his state visit to the European country.
Xi hailed China-Italy traditional friendship and said China is ready to strengthen "a comprehensive strategic partnership" with Italy.
Xi said the ancient Silk Road connected the two countries over 2,000 years ago. The Travels of Marco Polo, the 13th-century travelogue, roused the first wave of "China fever" among European countries, the president noted.   
China and Italy will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2020, and historical cultural exchange will serve as a solid pillar in the bilateral relations in the new era, Xi said.
"With my visit, I wish to set out, together with Italian leaders, the guidelines for bilateral relations and take them into a new era," Xi said in the article. He said China was ready to coordinate more closely with Italy over international issues such as climate change within the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the G20. 
He also said China and Italy could develop cooperation projects in sectors such as ports, shipping, telecoms and pharmaceuticals, and encourage their respective companies to cooperate in third countries.
Full text of President Xi's signed article: "East Meets West – A New Chapter of Sino-Italian Friendship"