Home World ‘China firmly opposes smearing, undermining…’: Beijing on Italy’s withdrawal from Belt and Road Initiative

‘China firmly opposes smearing, undermining…’: Beijing on Italy’s withdrawal from Belt and Road Initiative

‘China firmly opposes smearing, undermining…’: Beijing on Italy’s withdrawal from Belt and Road Initiative


Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.
Image Source : AP/FILE Chinese overseas ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

China’s overseas ministry on Thursday defended the controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) after Italy formally withdrew from the flagship Chinese infrastructural venture, saying that it holds “enormous appeal and global influence”. However, the Chinese response didn’t single out Italy for criticism.

“China firmly opposes smearing and undermining cooperation in developing the Belt and Road Initiative, and opposes confrontation and creating division among the camps,” stated Chinese overseas ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin in a routine briefing on Thursday.

This got here after Italy formally knowledgeable China that it’s pulling out from the BRI, two authorities sources advised Reuters on Wednesday, ending months of doubt over Rome’s future within the bold venture. Italy additionally apparently ignored considerations that the withdrawal may bitter relations with Beijing and harm its personal financial system.

Italy in 2019 turned the primary and to this point solely main Western nation to affix the programme, dismissing considerations from the United States that it could allow China to achieve management of delicate applied sciences and important infrastructure.

“We have every intention of maintaining excellent relations with China even if we are no longer part of the Belt and Road Initiative,” a second authorities supply stated. “Other G7 nations have closer relations with China than we do, despite the fact they were never in (the BRI),” he added.

Why did Italy pull out of BRI?

When Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni took workplace final 12 months, she stated she needed to withdraw from the deal, which is modelled on the outdated Silk Road that linked China to the West, saying it had introduced no vital beneficial properties to Italy.

“I think that we should… improve our cooperation with China on trade, the economy…The tool of the (BRI) … has not produced the results that were expected,” Meloni advised reporters on Thursday.

The 2019 accord expires in March 2024 and would have been routinely renewed except Rome gave no less than three months’ written warning that it was pulling out. A authorities supply stated Beijing had been given a letter “in recent days” informing the Chinese authorities that Italy wouldn’t be renewing the pact.

The controversy surrounding BRI

With the BRI, China has turn out to be a serious financer of improvement tasks on a par with the World Bank.  Xi’s initiative has constructed energy vegetation, roads, railroads and ports around the globe and deepened China’s ties with Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Mideast. However, the large loans backing the tasks have burdened poorer international locations with heavy money owed, in some circumstances resulting in China taking management of these belongings.

The Chinese authorities says the initiative has launched greater than 3,000 tasks and “galvanized” practically $1 trillion in funding.

It has additionally attracted criticism from the US, India and others that China is participating in “debt trap” diplomacy: Making loans Beijing knew governments would doubtless default on, enabling Chinese pursuits to take management of the belongings. An oft-cited instance is a port that the Sri Lankan authorities ended up leasing to a Chinese firm for 99 years. Many economists say China didn’t make the dangerous loans deliberately.

(with inputs from Reuters)

ALSO READ | Italy ends months of doubt, officially quits China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative project

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