Source : Asian News International (ANI)
Italian defence minister calls the decision of his country to join Chinese BRI project as ‘wicked’
Rome [Italy]: The defence minister of Italy has referred to his country’s choice to join a major Chinese infrastructure project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as “wicked.” The present Italian Government is considering whether to keep participating in the scheme, CNN reported.
Italy’s defence minister Guido Crosetto, in an interview with Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday, claimed that the BRI project, which Italy signed up for under its former government, has not done anything to boost the nation’s exports.
Beijing’s international infrastructure investment programme, known as the BRI, a term established by China’s Xi Jinping in 2013, was created to rebuild China’s Silk Road, which linked Asia with Africa and Europe in order to boost trade and economic development, as per CNN.
Each year, the effort has seen billions of dollars poured into infrastructure projects, including the construction of ports from Sri Lanka to West Africa, the paving of motorways from Papua New Guinea to Kenya, and the provision of power and telecoms infrastructure for people in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Critics claim that China is using the BRI to increase its global influence.
In 2019, Italy became the only major Western country and the only country from the G7 group of advanced economies to join the BRI.
Crosetto while speaking to the Corriere della Sera said, “the choice to join the Silk Road was an improvised and wicked act, made by the government of Giuseppe Conte, which led to a double negative result.”
“We have exported a load of oranges to China, they have tripled their exports to Italy in three years. The most ridiculous thing then was that Paris, without signing any treaties, in those days sold planes to Beijing for tens of billions,” he said, according to CNN.
The question now, he said, is how Italy can withdraw from the BRI without damaging relations with Beijing. He described Beijing as “a competitor, but also a partner.”
The BRI membership of Italy will end in 2024. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni asserted earlier this year that “good relations” with China could exist without the scheme, CNN reported. (ANI) Italian defence minister calls the decision of his country to join Chinese BRI project as ‘wicked’ IgMp