February 29, 2024 8:33 pm

Prime Minister Meloni Keeps Her Promise, as Italy Leaves the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ – Then Reassures Relations With Beijing Will Remain ‘Excellent’ | The Gateway Pundit

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The Conservative Italian government headed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has fulfilled one of its electoral promises, as it surfaces now that the European country has officially informed China that it is quitting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a strategy to connect Asia with Europe and Africa. It was adopted by the Chinese government in 2013.

Sure enough, Italian officials have made an effort to dismiss fears that the move might disrupt relations with China or damage the Italian economy.

Back in ’19, Italy became the only major Western nation to join the Chinese trade and investment program.

The US warned its partners that China might take control of sensitive technologies and vital infrastructure.

Read: Right-Wing Italian PM Georgia Meloni Disavows Fascism in First Speech to Parliament: “We Must Uphold Christian Values”

Reuters reported:

“However, when Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took office last year, she said she wanted to withdraw from the deal, which was championed by President Xi Jinping, saying it had brought no significant gains to Italy.”

The signed accord expires next March, and Rome sent Beijing a letter ‘in recent days’ informing China that it would not renew the deal.

“‘We have every intention of maintaining excellent relations with China even if we are no longer part of the Belt and Road Initiative’, a […] government source said. ‘Other G7 nations have closer relations with China than we do, despite the fact they were never in (the BRI)’, he added.”

Since ’13, over 100 countries signed agreements with China to cooperate on BRI infrastructure and building projects.

Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte hoped for trade benefits, but Chinese firms were the main beneficiaries.

“Italian exports to China totaled 16.4 billion euros ($17.7 billion) last year from 13 billion euros in 2019. By contrast, Chinese exports to Italy rose to 57.5 billion from 31.7 billion over the same period, according to Italian data.

Italy’s main euro zone trading partners France and Germany exported significantly more to China last year, despite not being part of the BRI, which is modeled on the old Silk Road that linked China to the West.”

Read: Unhappy Anniversary! Italy’s Giorgia Meloni and UK’s Rishi Sunak Complete One Year as Prime Ministers With Very Little to Celebrate

Meloni is polishing up her conservative credentials as a NATO leader, but has also said she wants to maintain strategic ties to China, and means to visit Beijing.

Read: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Defends Her Family While Separating From Journalist Andrea Giambruno

The BRI scheme eyes vast amounts of infrastructure spending on roads and shipping routes. Many in the West see it as a tool for China to flex its geopolitical and economic muscles.

Read: Italian PM Meloni Admits “Ukraine Fatigue” to Russian Prank Callers: “We Need a Way Out”

The Guardian reported:

“Last July, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, Italy’s defence minister, Guido Crosetto, said joining China’s BRI had been a poor decision. ‘The decision to join the [new] Silk Road was an improvised and atrocious act’ that boosted China’s exports to Italy but did not have the same effect on Italian exports to China, he said.

‘The issue today is how to walk back [from the BRI] without damaging relations [with Beijing]. Because it is true that China is a competitor, but it is also a partner’.

Crosetto also voiced concerns about Beijing’s ‘increasingly assertive attitudes’, its ambition to have the largest military presence in the world and its ambitions to expand, particularly in Africa. ‘They don’t hide their goals. They make them explicit’, he said.”

Read more about Italy:

Europe’s Right Wing Gathers in Italy To Plan For More Gains in Next Year’s Elections for the European Parliament

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Original Source: Prime Minister Meloni Keeps Her Promise, as Italy Leaves the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ – Then Reassures Relations With Beijing Will Remain ‘Excellent’ | The Gateway Pundit

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