In October 2013, during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Xi Jinping announced the project of a New Silk Road, known as Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI is an extremely complex project which has implications and objectives at all levels, from the pursuit of economic and commercial gains to the re-negotiation of China’s political-strategic position in the international arena.

The cornerstone of this series of analyses is that the rapidity and enthusiasm with which China has leaped into the project of creating a network of infrastructural corridors, capable of transporting goods more rapidly and cheaply, betrays the existence of a specific economic necessity. Indeed, China appears willing to strengthen connections – diplomatic and political, but first of all economic – with countries not traditionally belonging to its area of influence, in particular countries situated on the European continent. The fact that China is willing to commit to building a colossal network of infrastructures tells a story about its expectation. Following a series of commercial accords (e.g. the 2019 Memorandum with Italy), there will be a greater flow of goods, people, and capitals from and to the countries involved in the BRI.

However, this project is not happening in the void, but it’s integrated into a broader geopolitical scenario that must be analyzed, so as to point out the shifts in international relations that the BRI might cause.

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