March 6, 2019 / 5:50 PM / 7 months ago

Italy junior foreign min warns against signing China deal at present

ROME (Reuters) - The time is not right for Italy to sign a preliminary deal to become a part of China’s giant “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan, Foreign Ministry undersecretary Guglielmo Picchi said on Wednesday.

An Italian official said earlier that the government was in talks to sign a memorandum of understanding with China when President Xi Jinping visits the country later this month.

However, Picchi, who is a senior member of the ruling League party, wrote on Twitter he thought such a move would be premature. “5G and infrastructural access are issues of national security that must be evaluated with great care. At this moment, I do not think we should proceed with the signature,” he wrote.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer

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