G20 Summit: Italy PM Meloni signals exit from Belt and Road Initiative to China
Giorgia Meloni privately signalled to Chinese Premier Li Qiang that Italy is planning to exit from an investment pact.
Giorgia Meloni privately signalled to Chinese Premier Li Qiang that Italy is planning to exit from an investment pact that has become a test of her nation’s relations with the US.
During a meeting on Saturday on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in India, Meloni told Li that Italy plans to withdraw from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative while still looking to maintain friendly relations with Beijing, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named. Italy officially signed up for the pact in 2019.
The Italian prime minister has been taking her time before deciding how to communicate her government’s decision to exit from the global infrastructure pact, fearing trade retaliation.
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Italy has signalled to allies that it intended to pull out of the initiative, but Meloni has for months been haunted by a dilemma on how to deliver such a decision to Beijing while limiting the risk of retaliation.
Meloni has said she will visit China in the coming months and the issue is sensitive, particularly since China’s ambassador to Italy had warned there would be “negative consequences” for Italy if it withdrew from the agreement.