March 12, 2019 / 11:08 AM / 5 months ago

Italy says MOU with China not meant to upset strategic alliances

FILE PHOTO: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio holds a news conference in Rome, Italy, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - The Memorandum of Understanding Italy is drawing up with China is not meant to upset strategic alliances, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Tuesday in a bid to soothe U.S. concerns.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he might sign an MOU to become a part of China’s giant “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Rome and Palermo later this month.

A spokesman for the White House’s group of national security advisers, Garrett Marquis, on Saturday called the Chinese venture a “vanity project” that Italy should steer clear of.

Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Maria Pia Quaglia

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