Intense Chinese Diplomacy for the Belt and Road Initiative
20 March 2019
EIRNS—President Xi Jinping will pay state visits to Italy, Monaco and France from March 21 to 26, according to an announcement made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on March 18. The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing sometime in late April—the precise date has not yet been made public—which means that the next 30 days will see intense Chinese diplomacy on the BRI. Although a summit between Xi and President Donald Trump now seems unlikely during that time frame, it is not impossible that a U.S.-China trade deal could take shape, which would be critical to global progress on the BRI. That is of course one of the things that the British most devoutly fear and are therefore actively sabotaging—along with superpower cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a March 18 press conference in Brussels, where he participated in a China-EU strategic dialogue, that Xi’s three-country European visit will be “a journey to consolidate friendship, deepen cooperation and engage in strategic communication.” He added, according to Xinhua, that “it will also help step up connectivity on the Eurasian continent.”
In Italy, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang announced, according to Xinhua, “The visit will further consolidate political mutual trust between China and Italy, deepen practical cooperation in various areas under the framework of the Belt and Road, boost people-to-people and cultural exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, promote new progress of the Sino-Italian comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era and make contributions to Sino-EU relations as well as world peace and development.”
In France, Geng stated, the two sides will work on “new progress and breakthroughs in pragmatic cooperation, and close communication and coordination on major issues including safeguarding multilateralism, improving global governance, and addressing climate change.”