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Leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni waves to the people

REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Ciao Ciao China!

All belts are off now in Italy. On Wednesday, Rome officially withdrew from China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s signature global infrastructure, trade, and investment scheme.

Flashback: In 2019, Italy – then governed by a strongly euroskeptic coalition– became the only G7 country to officially join BRI. For China, it was a coup to bring aboard Europe’s third-largest and the world’s seventh-largest economy. Rome, for its part, hoped for a bonanza of trade and inbound investment from Beijing.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with China Media Group anchor Wang Guan


Putin’s pessimistic prospects in Beijing

President Vladimir Putin – on a rare venture outside Russia – is in China for a forum marking the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. While Putin hopes to deepen the countries’ “no limits” partnership, what he really wants is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s promise to build the Power of Siberia 2, a massive pipeline project that would transport natural gas from western Siberia to China.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, meanwhile, met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday in Beijing, where the two discussed resolving the war in Ukraine with “political and diplomatic methods” and the war between Israel and Hamas. They didn’t outline any concrete agreements, which may become a theme this week.

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