Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks during a plenary session at the 49th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2019. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)
By Stefania Fumo
ROME, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday he is willing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in late April in Beijing.
Speaking live from Genoa at an event organized by Limes geopolitics journal, Conte said that he sees the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as "an opportunity for Italy and for Europe", and that his coalition government is "studying and analyzing" the implications of formally endorsing the Initiative.
"I am confident we will be able to introduce our criteria in terms of economic, financial, and environmental stability and sustainability, also our juridical and legal standards, into the (BRI endorsement) project, which we would like to be as broad and transparent as possible," Conte said in televised comments.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa through the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing on Friday that China welcomes Italy and other European countries to take an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative.
A total of 152 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation documents with China on the initiative over the past six years, official figures show.
Since being seated in June 2018, Italy's populist-rightwing government has made three high-level visits to China, sending Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, Geraci, and Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who also serves as economic development minister.