China and Italy should further explore their cooperation potential under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation to seek more fruitful cooperation results, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.
Wang made the remarks at a regular press, responding to a media question over how the ministry views Italy's reported intention to exit BRI.
China and Italy have achieved fruitful results in various fields such as trade and economic growth, industrial manufacturing, clean energy, and third-party markets after the singing of the BRI cooperation document, Wang said.
Wang noted that the two sides should further explore the cooperation potential under the BRI framework and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse sectors, while bringing more benefits to the two countries and peoples.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Italy has signaled to the US its intention to exit the BRI before the end of the year amid escalating China and US tensions.
The Bloomberg report claimed that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reassured US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during a meeting in Rome last week that while a "final decision hasn't been taken", her government is leaning toward an exit from BRI.
China and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly advance the construction of the Belt and Road in March 2019, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The two sides agreed to work with each other on cooperation in fields such as the environment and sustainable energy, agriculture, sustainable urbanization, health, aviation, space technology, infrastructure and transportation, the Xinhua report said.
China-Italy trade in the first four months of 2023 reached 162.36 billion yuan ($23.45 billion), down 1.3 percent year-on-year, while the imports from January to April recorded an increase of 7.4 percent to 60.16 billion yuan, official customs data showed on Tuesday.