Flags of Italy and China representing the Silk Road initiative which Italy pulled out of this week.

China responds to Italy leaving Silk Road initiative

Business News

“The ‘Silk Road’ is a successful initiative and the world’s biggest platform for cooperation between
countries,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Thursday.

The Chinese Foreign Minister’s comment was in response to a question from ANSA in the first official comment following Italy’s decision to withdraw from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“China opposes the denigration and sabotage of the initiative,” as well as the “confrontation between
blocs,” added Wang, recalling the 150 countries “including Italy” that participated in the third BRI Forum
in mid-October.

Italy formally exited the massive globe-spanning infrastructure scheme aiming to build a modern-day
‘Silk Road’ with a letter delivered to Beijing a few days ago, sources said on Wednesday.

The move comes after Italian Foreign Ministry Secretary General Riccardo Guariglia went on a mission
to China in the summer, followed by a visit by Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

The two States’ intention to cultivate their strategic partnership was confirmed at the meetings. Furthermore, the governments took steps for President Sergio Mattarella’s visit to China next year, the sources said.

Italy signed up for the BRI in 2019, making it the only G7 country to do so, but the decision not to
renew the involvement was widely expected.

The memorandum for Italy’s participation in the new Silk Road initiative expires in March.

On Thursday, Premier Giorgia Meloni said Italy should continue to cooperate with China but the Belt
and Road Initiative (BRI), the massive globe-spanning infrastructure scheme aiming to build a modern-
day ‘Silk Road’, has not delivered the expected results.

“I think we should maintain and improve trade and economic cooperation relations with China, but the
Silk Road instrument has not given the expected results,” she told reporters after visiting the artisans’
trade fair Artigiano in Fiera. Earlier Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described the
‘Silk Road’ project as “a successful initiative and the world’s biggest platform for cooperation between
countries” and said “China opposes the denigration and sabotage of the initiative” as well as the
“confrontation between blocs”.

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