There’s more to business ties with China than Belt and Road Initiative: Italy’s premier

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said Sunday that the country’s business ties with China rely on a much broader basis than the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and that Italy hasn’t decided yet whether it will leave it.
‘The tools of bilateral cooperation are many and we have a strategic cooperation in place with China which can be stronger, which can be reinforced and doesn’t only hinge on our membership in the Belt and Road Initiative,’ she told reporters on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in New Delhi, India.
Meloni said there is already a strategic partnership agreement with China, which former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signed with the Asian country 19 years ago.
She also mentioned that the impact of Italy’s membership in the Belt and Road Initiative hasn’t been significant.
‘Other European nations didn’t participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and, yet, they managed to build more advantageous ties with China than those we built,’ she said.
‘Therefore, the issue is how to guarantee, independently of the decision we will take on the Belt and Road, a partnership that is advantageous for both.’
On Saturday, Meloni spoke with China’s Prime Minister Li Qiang about BRI and said the talks were polite and constructive.
Rome’s participation in BRI was agreed upon by a previous Italian government in 2019. At the time, Italy’s decision raised eyebrows in Washington and in European Union capitals. Italy was the only major Western country to sign into the Chinese initiative.
However, the deal had few practical consequences.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Italy’s cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative has yielded ‘fruitful results.’
Addressing the 11th Joint Meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee on Monday, Wang said due to ‘joint efforts’ from the two sides, ‘China-Italy relations have maintained a high-level development.’

Source: Anadolu Agency