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Italian Government Choses Cooperation with China

Nov. 18, 2022 (EIRNS)—New Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on Nov. 16 on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali and disappointed all those who had hoped she would inaugurate a new anti-China policy. Instead, the meeting was characterized by a spirit of friendship and cooperation. The China-Italy Silk Road Memorandum of 2019 was not mentioned, but it was decided to reactivate institutional forms of cooperation launched by the memorandum. Both leaders referred to the millenary history of both countries as the cultural basis for mutually profitable relations. Xi invited Meloni to visit China, and Meloni accepted. Rumors are that China will order 200 ATR42 regional aircraft from Italy. As Beijing’s Foreign Ministry reported:

“As two ancient civilizations, China and Italy are comprehensive strategic partners that share broad common interests and a profound foundation for cooperation. It is important for the two countries to carry forward the tradition of friendship, understand and support each other’s core interests and major concerns, pursue common ground while shelving differences, expand consensus, and set an example for relations between countries with different social systems and cultural backgrounds.

 “President Xi stressed his hope for the two sides to tap into the China-Italy Government Committee and dialogue mechanisms across sectors to explore the potential of cooperation in such areas as high-end manufacturing, clean energy, aviation and aerospace and in third-party markets.

“China promotes high-level opening-up and will import more quality products from Italy. China welcomes Italy to be the guest of honor of the 2023 China International Consumer Products Expo....”

China’s State Council issued coverage of Meloni’s remarks on Nov. 16, reporting: “For her part, Meloni said Italy does not approve of bloc confrontation, and believes that countries should respect their differences and disagreements, strengthen solidarity, keep to dialogue and exchanges, and enhance mutual understanding.

“China is a major country, and Asia is becoming more and more important for the world, Meloni said, adding that Italy hopes to closely collaborate with China within the United Nations, the Group of 20 and other frameworks to tackle the various pressing challenges facing the world in a more effective manner.”

The Italian readout is shorter, but similar in content:

“Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Countries Summit with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. The meeting was marked by cordiality. Meloni expressed the Italian government’s interest in promoting mutual economic interests, also with a view to increasing Italian exports to China. At the same time, Xi and Meloni acknowledged the ancient relationship between Italy and China, two millennia-old civilizations, emphasizing the success of the Italy-China Year of Culture. President Xi recalled the messages exchanged with [Italian] President Mattarella on that occasion.”

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