Premier emphasizes exchanges between China, U.S.
Premier Li Qiang had a brief conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden on the margins of the recently concluded G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Li told Biden that China's development is an opportunity, not a challenge, for the United States and the two countries should step up exchanges, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a regular news briefing.
Biden said the U.S. hopes to see China's economy growing and will not hamper its growth, according to Mao.
The conversation was the highest level of interaction between the two countries since President Xi Jinping met with Biden on the sidelines of the previous G20 Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022.
In another development, Mao called for deepened cooperation between China and Italy, amid reports that Italy is mulling over an exit from the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is reported to have said on Sunday that there was more to Italy's relationship with China than the initiative, and that a final decision on whether to leave the framework was still to be taken.
In response, Mao said on Monday that China and Italy, both ancient civilizations on either end of the ancient Silk Road, "can further deepen practical cooperation in various fields and work for further growth of our comprehensive strategic partnership".
Ten years since the BRI was put forward, more than 150 countries and cooperation partners in a wide range of areas have joined the initiative, which has proven to be "a very attractive international public good", the spokeswoman said.
Italy signed a BRI cooperation document with China in March 2019, and was the first Group of Seven member country to have signed such a document.
The signing of the document "unleashed great enthusiasm and potential for bilateral cooperation", the ministry said.
Over the past five years, bilateral trade increased by 42 percent to nearly $80 billion last year.
"The initiative has brought tangible benefits to people of various countries. It is in line with the interests of all participating countries to further tap into the potential of BRI cooperation," Mao said.
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