ROME, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Ties between Italy and China are likely to become more important for both countries when the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, according to speakers at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The event, hosted by the Italy-China Foundation Thursday in collaboration with the Italian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, featured remarks from officials from both countries.
The common line through many of them was how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will change the world economy as well as the economic and cultural relations between Italy and China.
"Despite the logistical difficulties coming from the health emergency, [Thursday's] discussion has been designed to be an important signal of the importance of relations between our countries," Mario Boselli, president of the Italy-China Foundation, said in his remarks.
"The experience of the pandemic has created many questions but it has also given us some certainties," Boselli continued. "One of these certainties is that China, which was already a dominant part of the world's economy, will be an even bigger protagonist in the post-COVID-19 world."
Chinese officials addressing the event included Gao Yan, chairperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
"Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Italy and China ... the two countries have developed comprehensive cooperation in various areas," Gao said via video hookup. "Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Italy have mutually supported each other and have overcome challenges together."
Gao added that the ties will continue to thrive and "will be even more glorious over the next 50 years."
Li Mingyuan, mayor of Xi'an, the capital city of northwest China's Shaanxi province, quoted a traditional Chinese saying to refer to the friendship of the two countries: "Although we reside in far corners of the world, having a good friend is akin to having a good neighbor."
Li said his city's strong historical ties with the Italian capital of Rome, the southern city of Pompeii, and the northern Italian region of Veneto are examples of close cooperation between the countries.
Luca Ferrari, Italy's ambassador to China, told the conference China was "a safe haven for Italy" in a world struggling with the pandemic, economic slowdowns, and trade wars.
"This conference was mainly congratulatory but it also had an important message, which is that even though the ties between Italy and China have been strong for many years, they have never been more important than they are today," Boselli told Xinhua in a telephone interview after the conclusion of the event.
"When the world is able to move beyond the pandemic, the ties will be even more important," he said.