MILAN (Reuters) – Italy wants to join China’s giant “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan to boost Italian exports, not to strengthen political ties with the Asian giant, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday.
Di Maio was responding to U.S. concerns at the prospect of a key ally supporting the Chinese initiative. A spokesman for the White House’s group of national security advisers, Garrett Marquis, on Saturday called the Chinese venture a “vanity project” that Italy should steer clear of.
The “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, aims to link China by sea and land with southeast and central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, through an infrastructure network on the lines of the ancient Silk Road.
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