14:10 | 11/03/2019 Cooperation
Rome is preparing to sign an MOU on the One Belt, One Road Initiative later this month when it hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping.
|President Xi Jinping (R) and Italian President Italy Sergio Mattarella in Beijing in 2017 - Photo: Xinhua|
Washington has expressed concerns over the news saying it could harm Rome's international image.
The White House also said the move would not help Italy's economy.
There are also conflicting views from within the Italian government.
Junior Industry Minister Michele Geraci said that if Italy did sign an accord, it would be non-binding and just what he called "an initial framework".
Another junior minister cautioned against any such move, saying more thought had to be given about national security.
President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road Initiative aims to link China with a host of continents by sea and land through an infrastructure network on the lines of the old Silk Road.
Aside from boosting trade and investment, Xi aims to advance exchanges in areas such as science, technology and culture.
The U.S. has been apprehensive towards the project over fears that China could use it for espionage.
The EU is also expressing caution.
The bloc's spokesperson said it was cooperating with Beijing on the initiative, but insisted this was on the grounds that China sticks to EU and international rules.