Belt and Road Suffers Setbacks in Italy, Australia

cc Flickr EU2017EE Estonian Presidency, modiifed,

Xi Jinping’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative suffered two major setbacks in the Western world this past week.

The first occurred in Australia, where the federal government nullified two deals previously agreed to by the state of Victoria under the banner of Belt and Road. The deals – a 2018 memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing Victoria up to BRI and a 2019 framework agreement pledging increased involvement by Chinese infrastructure companies in state projects – were lacking in specific details and neither was legally binding. However, they were expected to narrow in on the project level in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the process (and the bottom fell out of Sino-Australia relations).

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