Wu Bangguo (R Front), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, arrives in Milan on May 18, 2009 at the start of an official goodwill visit to Italy. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
MILAN, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Top Chinese legislator Wu Bangguo arrived in the Italian city of Milan on Monday for an official goodwill visit to the country.
Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), began his tour in Italy at the invitation of Italian Senate President Renato Schifani and Chamber of Deputies President Gianfranco Fini.
In a written statement released at the airport upon his arrival, Wu said China is ready to work with Italy to maintain the sound momentum of practical cooperation so as to make contributions to overcoming the international financial crisis and spurring the recovery of the world economy.
Wu is scheduled to meet with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as well as heads of both houses of the Italian parliament and other Italian leaders to exchange views on bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of common concern.
Wu is also to visit a research and development center of the Italian National Agency for New Technology, Energy and the Environment (ENEA), which shows China's interest in using European technologies to improve energy efficiency of its economy.
After Chinese President Hu Jintao's attendance at the London G20 summit in April and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's Europe tour in January, Wu is yet another senior Chinese leader to visit Europe in the past few months.
Against the background of the worsening global financial crisis, Wu's visit highlighted the importance that China attaches to cooperation with Europe in addressing global challenges.
Italy, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the G8 group, will host a summit between the leaders of G8 nations and developing countries in June. Hu is expected to attend the meeting.
Wu's visit coincides with a G8 environment ministers meeting that is to be held in Italy on May 22.
China and Italy have witnessed smooth development of bilateral ties in recent years. Berlusconi visited Beijing for the Asia-Europe summit last October.
Besides Milan, Wu is also to visit Rome, Florence and Venice. Italy is the final leg of Wu's three-nation Europe tour, which had already taken him to Russia and Austria.