Xi asks Italian PM to help EU policy towards China remain 'positive' -state media

G20 summit in Bali

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping told Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Wednesday at the G20 summit in Indonesia that he hoped Italy would play an important role in helping the European Union's policy towards China remain "positive" and "independent."

In their first-ever meeting, Xi and Meloni praised each other's countries as ancient civilisations, with Xi pointing out China's cooperation with Italy on battling COVID-19, and calling on China-Italy relations to become a "model for the development of relations between two countries with different social systems and cultural backgrounds," according to state broadcaster CCTV.

"(I) hope that the Italian side can play an important role in the EU persisting in its pursuit of an independent, self-sufficient, and positive policy towards China," Xi was quoted as saying by CCTV.

Xi also stressed that he hoped both countries could find new growth points for areas of cooperation, such as high-end manufacturing, clean energy and aviation, while Meloni said Italy did not approve of confrontation between camps and believed all countries should respect each other's differences and divergences, CCTV reported.

(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Beijing; Editing by Matthew Lewis)