Known as a “debt trap” in the West, China’s Belt and Road initiative is set to host its tenth forum.
In addition to close allies Russia and Iran, developing countries in Latin America and Africa will also attend.
Indian press source The Hindu says New Delhi is likely to skip the summit. If that happens, it would mark the third year of India’s absence from the event.
Ahead of the opening, China’s foreign ministry called the Belt and Road a win-win. The project has more than 150 countries plus 30 international bodies on board.
That said some of those nations seem to regret signing on.
Italy is one of them. The country’s current administration has been looking to opt out of the scheme.
“China was able to increase their exports, Italy. And this is the main reason why the country’s leaving, aside from the geopolitical issues is that Italy’s absolutely not seen any economic benefit from joining the BRI. And for China, it was a huge win, you know, it was an inroad into Europe,” Antonio Graceffo, author of ‘Beyond the Belt and Road: China’s Global Economic Expansion,’ said.
China’s exports to Italy have increased 51 percent whereas Italy has only hit half that number.