torsdag 4. april 2019

Italy joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative highlights different approaches of Europe and the US on Asia policy

At the annual summer academy for University of Turin students held on the campus of Peking University, about 50 Italian business students spend their days learning Mandarin, studying macroeconomics and interning with Chinese companies.

They call themselves the “Marco Polos of the 21st century”, a giggling nod to the famed 13th-century Venetian explorer. When asked what their career ambitions are, more than a few share the same goal: to be a country manager for China’s ICBC Bank back home in Italy. This is worth remembering when analysing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent state visits in Europe, during which Italy formally became the first G7 country to join China’s monumental Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious effort to coordinate trillions of dollars of infrastructure investment across the regions of Africa, Europe and Asia historically bound by the Silk Road.