China's Xi to make 3-nation Europe visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping is keen to get Italy to sign up to the Belt and Road investment plan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is keen to get Italy to sign up to the Belt and Road investment plan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Italy, France and Monaco from March 21 to March 26.

The country's foreign ministry announced the visit in a statement on Monday, but did not give details of Xi's schedule during the trip.

Italy's coalition government has sent mixed signals over whether it will sign a proposed agreement to join China's Belt and Road infrastructure investment drive.

The initiative aims to expand commerce by building ports, railways and other infrastructure across more than 60 countries from the South Pacific through Asia to Europe and Africa.

Projects under the initiative have faced complaints that they leave host countries with too much debt, and with too little work going to local companies.

Italy's Undersecretary of State Guglielmo Picchi tweeted earlier this month that Italy should not sign the agreement.

Australian Associated Press