On March 23, Italy officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an expansive development strategy first unveiled in 2013. Italy is the first member of the Group of Seven to endorse China’s centerpiece foreign policy initiative, and the move comes at a sensitive moment for the trans-Atlantic partnership.
China's Belt and Road Initiative
The issue of Chinese investment has become divisive enough to help shape election outcomes in Malaysia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Indonesia, which is preparing for elections next month, has welcomed billions in Chinese money, and there are signs that Asia’s largest economy will play a major role in the vote there too.
Last fall, soon after Prime Minister Imran Khan took office, Pakistan unexpectedly invited Saudi Arabia to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor—the big-ticket Pakistan component of China’s huge Belt and Road Initiative. The influx of Saudi money is contributing to insecurity along Pakistan’s border.