Print version

The Chinese Charm Offensive Towards Italy as the Coronavirus Crisis Deepens


One year ago, Italy was hitting the headlines as Rome became the first G7 country to formally sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China to join the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI (China Brief, April 24, 2019). For Italy-China relations, 2020 would have been in any case a vital year: marking fifty years since the establishment of official diplomatic ties, the Italian President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella was due to visit China by the end of the year, after People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping came to Italy in March 2019 to sign the MoU (La Repubblica, January 17). However, twelve months later, Italy is finding itself facing the worst health and economic crisis it has experienced since World War II—a crisis in which the PRC is playing a number of prominent roles. [...]