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Belt and Road

Italy breaks ranks with Europe on China's Belt and Road

Rome views the initiative as a way to reinvigorate its economy

China can expand its access to the Mediterranean Sea by investing in Italian ports, such as this one in Palermo, through the Belt and Road Initiative.   © Reuters

BRUSSELS/GENEVA -- Italy is considering joining China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, a move that risks stirring up divisions with other European Union members distrustful of Beijing's expansionist bent.

Italy could agree to join the initiative when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the nation for three days through March 24, a senior Italian government official said. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday that he is open to the two sides signing a framework deal during Xi's trip. Conte also plans to attend a Belt and Road summit in China next month.

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