The Chinese influence, at the center of the discussion between the United States and Italy

by archynewsycom
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When US President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni meet today at the White House, the central topic of conversation will not be Ukraine, Russia, or the movement towards populism in Europe, which the head of the Transalpine government symbolizes.

the theme was China, despite the fact that neither Biden nor Meloni mentioned that country in their very brief meeting with the press at the White House. The United States wants Italy to get out of China’s controversial ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative (BRI), which seeks the construction of massive infrastructure from the Asian country to Europa, crossing all Eurasia. And Meloni herself is considering doing so. And for a wide range of reasons. One is that the economic profitability of the project – described by many as ‘the New Silk Road’- it is more than questionable. In fact, the one who got Italy into the BRI was another right-wing populist, Giuseppe Conte, in 2019.

The infrastructure projects of this new ‘Silk Road’ have been on numerous occasions of a much lower quality than expected and have been carried out taking more into account the geopolitical and economic interests of China than those of the countries in which they are located. they were carried out. Highways with no exits, ports too large for the demand of naval traffic, or highways to nowhere have been some of the failed projects of the ‘Belt and Road’ in countries as heterogeneous as Montenegro, Sri Lanka or Kenya.

Added to this, obviously, is the strategic component. The project is aimed at achieving China’s entry – and sometimes control – of a series of critical infrastructures, such as ports, airports, electrical networks, and land communication routes, in addition to the technological systems associated with them. With the proliferation of 5G and the Internet of Things, for a foreign country to have the ability to control a country’s electrical distribution system is a very significant potential risk. But control is not purely technological.

In principle, the insurance sector does not seem to have much to do with infrastructure. But, as a recent study of the think tank de Washington The Dialogue, The expansion of the Belt and Road has been accompanied by, for example, Chinese insurers that not only protect Chinese companies that carry out infrastructure works from financial risk, but also cover ship insurance , trucks and trains that use these infrastructures.

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