(Adds Draghi on Italy and China’s Belt and Road project)
CARBIS BAY, England, June 13 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the Group of Seven countries had to be frank about differences between the West and China in its post-summit communique that called out Beijing on issues ranging from rights to the origins of the coronavirus.
“It’s an autocracy that does not adhere to multilateral rules and does not share the same vision of the world that the democracies have,” Draghi told reporters on Sunday after a Group of Seven leaders summit in Britain.
“We need to cooperate but we also need to be frank about things that we do not share and do not accept. The U.S. president said that silence is complicity.”
Asked by a reporter if Italy’s participation in China’s Belt and Road infrastructure network was raised at the G7 summit, Draghi said it had not been mentioned but he added: “regarding that specific agreement, we will assess it carefully.”
The G7 leaders at their summit sought to counter China’s influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that could rival China’s Belt and Road initiative.
Italy was the first major Western power to endorse the Chinese plan in 2019, before Draghi became prime minister, in a bit to revive its economy. (Reporting by William Schomberg in Falmouth, England, and Elvira Pollina in Milan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)
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