Chinese President Xi Jinping is on the way to Europe this week where he is going to pay a visit to Italy, the principality of Monaco and France to boost trade relationships.
Italy’s government is expected to join China’s global trade and infrastructure programme despite concerns voiced by other European countries.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said that President Xi will visit from March 21 to 26 without giving further details of Xi’s itinerary.
The visits come at a time when European powers work to strike a balance between concerns regarding China’s influence and the desire for further investment. Last week, China promised improved cooperation when it comes to “Belt and Road Imitative” projects with the United States and European firms. President Xi’s tour attempts to reduce the growing criticism that the initiative aims to project China’s influence on countries.
In Rome, a government official stated last week that the government will sign a non-binding memorandum of understanding with China to officially show support the almost £8 trillion initiative known as New Silk Road.
Under the initiative, Beijing has financed infrastructure, maritime, rail and road projects across almost all continents which, according to critiques, solely benefit Chinese firms as countries, especially financially vulnerable ones, fall into “debt traps”.
Italy’s inclination to do business with China concerns the USA and the EU especially in regard to Beijing’s interest to invest and build European telecoms and ports.
French President Emmanuel Macron said after Italy’s announcement last week that EU countries should have a “coordinated approach” to China.
President Macron added: “It’s a good thing that China is taking part in the development of many countries, but I believe in the spirit of equality, reciprocity. The spirit of equality means respecting the sovereignty of nations…”.
France has accounted that it will enforce additional checks on Chinese equipment makers including the tech giant Huawei Technologies which has been entrenched in national security concerns in the US, Germany, and other countries worldwide.