Italy will seek closer engagement with China on major global issues when Rome holds the presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) next year, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.
"I intend to closely engage with China on key topics on the G8's agenda such as climate change, sustainable energy policy, global terrorism and poverty," Frattini said in an interview with China Daily in Beijing on Friday.
None of these issues can be addressed effectively at national level and engagement with China is the aim of all G8 members, he said, adding that Italy will attach particular importance to consulting China on stabilizing the turbulent border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Frattini, who had a fruitful meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in June, expressed satisfaction with Sino-Italian relations and hoped to upgrade bilateral ties through more high-level political exchanges.
Established in 2004, the China-Italy Governmental Committee has developed into an effective platform to push forward bilateral cooperation in all areas and is playing an increasingly important role in deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries.
"I would like to see the strategic committee further develop in the near future because continued high-level political dialogue is of the utmost importance," he said.
Responding to China's emerging role in world affairs, Frattini said Europe should encourage this phenomenon.
"We need to acknowledge the merits of the Chinese authorities, for example in dealing with Pyongyang on the nuclear issue, which has been addressed in a very positive and successful way," he said.
While Sino-European relations continue to deepen, issues involving the arms embargo on China and the full recognition of China's market economy status remain obstacles to stronger ties between China and Europe.
Countries such as France have been calling for the lifting of the embargo and fully recognizing China's market economy status, but other European nations remain skeptical.
Frattini said unanimity among EU member states is the key to eventually resolving these issues.
"We can't address these issues out of the broader context," he said. "Italy remains open on this and we see the importance of continued dialogue."
During his short stay in China, the Italian Foreign Minister visited the Olympic Village and talked with the Italian delegation.
"The Italian team is very well motivated," said Frattini, adding he was confident that his compatriots would perform well during the Games.
The Italian Foreign Minister left immediately after the Games' opening ceremony on Friday but he said he would follow the action on TV.