The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday called a U.S. official's critical remarks on Italy's plan to join the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) "ridiculous," as Italy can surely make its own decisions based on its interests.
Lu Kang, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the comment at a routine press conference on Wednesday.
"Italy, as a major country and economy in the world, is clear about its interests. It could make its own policies and decisions," Lu said.
Lu's remarks came after Wednesday's Financial Times report which said that Italy plans to sign a memorandum of understanding to join the BRI by the end of March.
However, the White House National Security Council spokesperson claimed the project was unlikely to help Italy economically and could significantly damage the country's international image, according to the report.
More and more countries and international organizations expressed their willingness in joining the BRI six years since it was launched, and they found that BRI is a mutually beneficial and win-win platform, Lu said.
The BRI is an important international public good that China contributes to global cooperation for common development. China and more than 150 countries and international organizations have signed BRI cooperation agreements, which witnessed more than $6 trillion in cumulative trade between China and participating countries, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said at the 55th Munich Security Conference in February, the Xinhua News Agency reported.