Preserve Hong Kong independence, Di Maio tells Wang

Italy's position clear, NATO membership stronger than ever - FM

(ANSA) - ROME, 25 AGO - China must preserve Hong Kong's independence, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Rome Tuesday.
    "China undoubtedly represents one of our principal partners and one cannot forget that is is now an essential actor to address any international scenario," Di Maio said at a joint press conference with Wang.
    With China, the Italian foreign minister said, "there is an exchange founded on frankness".
    He said "our international position is very clear to all, starting with our membership of NATO which is stronger than ever.
    "This enables us to have a healthy and fair relationship with China".
    Di Maio stressed that in Hong Kong, "it is indispensable to preserve the high degree of autonomy and freedom.
    "We will follow with great attention the developments of the new national security law".
    Di Maio said that "I reiterated (to Wang) that with out European partners we believe that the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, on the basis of the one country two systems principle, are essential".
    Wang said that "with Minister Di Maio we discussed Hong Kong while respecting the spirit of non-interference.
    "I told him that the reason for the security law is to fix the faults that had existed for many years and to fight the violent acts that are happening everywhere on the island.
    "We made the law to guarantee the rights and autonomy of all".
    Wang Yi met Di Maio as he embarked on a European tour.
    The two minister's talks ranged from China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), or 'New Silk Road', to post-COVID scenarios, diplomatic sources said.
    The talks also came amid a general climate of tension between China and the United States.
    Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party and the Radicals protested Wang's visit.
    Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law attended the protest.
    Law said that the Italian government should be "more assertive" with China over the Hong Kong security law that has been condemned by both the EU and Italian parliaments.
    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin phoned Chinese Deputy Premier Liu He on trade issues.
    He said "both sides intend to ensure the success" of a trade accord. (ANSA).


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