US-China trade war gives Belt and Road added significance

Beijing has been steadily gathering support for its “Belt and Road” initiative, which aims to weave a network of ports, bridges and power plants linking China with Africa, Europe and beyond.Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has pledged to sign a memorandum of understanding this week on supporting the initiative during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has made the initiative his signature policy.Italy’s involvement would give China a crucial inroad into western Europe and a symbolic boost in its economic tug-of-war with the United States.Italy would be the first G-7 member to join the Belt and Road, following Portugal’s embrace of the initiative in December. It is hoping Chinese investment in its ports might help revive its traditional role as an entrepot between East and West.The Associated Press

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