字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Italy just snubbed its European allies by signing a Belt and Road deal with China. Italy hopes it's a win-win-win. But history suggests China might get most of the wins. Welcome back to China Uncensored. I'm Chris Chappell. Italy. It might look like a worn-out old boot but it's brought the world historic masterpieces like the Sistine Chapel the Mona Lisa and of course the most magnificent of all—pizza. Now that is a work of art. This past weekend, Italy again made history by ignoring the advice of its allies, and becoming the only G7 country to sign up for China's global infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. Or, as it was initially known, One Belt, One Really Bad Idea for Every Country Except China. Italy rolled out the metaphorical red carpet when Chinese leader Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan arrived in Rome last Thursday. The next day, Xi Jinping met with Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella. And like those corporate emails that everyone hates, Xi Jinping was all about the “synergy and cooperation”! "We want to strengthen the synergies between our respective development strategies to enhance cooperation in the infrastructure, port, logistics and maritime transport sectors.” But President Mattarella was all like “win-win must NOT mean China wins twice.” "The ancient Silk Road was an instrument of knowledge among peoples and a tool to share reciprocal discoveries. Even the new Silk Road must be a two-way street.” Kudos there to the very professional translation done by Mario. Anyway, you can't blame President Mattarella for emphasizing the two-way street part. Although you can maybe blame him for signing the deal in the first place. Because the Chinese regime has a shady history of lending money to countries for its own gain. Like when debt-ridden Sri Lanka couldn't pay back a big Chinese loan, and had to sign away its seaport. Or when cash-strapped Greece absorbed a ton of Chinese capital and sold the port of Piraeus to a Chinese state-owned company. Of course, Greece was grateful for the money. So grateful, that they even helped block EU criticism of China's terrible human rights record. And now comes Italy, with its crushing public debt. But instead of austerity, Italy's populist government has promised to use even more state spending to climb out of the recession. Plus Italy has some crumbling infrastructure that desperately needs fixing. They can't depend on tourists to hold it up forever. But I was more thinking about the modern infrastructure. Like the Genoa Bridge that collapsed last year. I can't say it was unexpected. Four other Italian bridges have collapsed since 2013. And that's partly because a lot of Italy's construction was allegedly built by mafia firms that scammed money by using weakened cement. But don't worry, because now that Italy is working with China, everything's going to be top quality. That's why, this past Saturday, Italy penned a deal with China to join the Belt and Road Initiative. Actually, the signing included 29 separate deals, worth a total of 2.8 billion dollars. For example, a deal to work together on technology for gas turbines. Which Chinese companies will definitely not steal. Pinky swear. And Italy's CDP Bank signed an agreement with the Bank of China to create “panda bonds”. These panda bonds will let mainland Chinese invest in Italian debt. To me, the red flag here is that they're named after the one animal which— no matter where it's born in the world— ultimately belongs to China. Nothing involving pandas is ever a smart choice, people! You think these fangs are really for eating bamboo?! Anyway, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Mario— What's that, Shelley? It's Luigi Di Maio? I knew it was too good to be true. Anyway, he called the whole thing not just a win-win, but a win-win-win. "Today is the day when the 'Made in Italy' wins, Italy wins, Italian companies win. But there's at least one Italian official who's not convinced it's a win-win-win for Italy. Italy's other Deputy Prime Minister— wait, why does Italy have two Deputy Prime Ministers? Is that normal? What's that Shelley? Wow. That's... really complicated. Anyway, Italy's other Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini made headlines by boycotting the signing ceremony. Instead, he attended an event in northern Italy where he told reporters that doing deals with the Chinese Communist Party is risky business. Salvini said “Don't tell me that China is a country where the free market prevails, where the state doesn't interfere in the economy, in the legal system, in information.” Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with Italy's Deputy Prime Minister on this one. The second Deputy Prime Minister, I mean. The European Union is also not thrilled with Italy jumping aboard the Belt and Road train. The EU's budget commissioner said that “The expansion of transport links between Europe and Asia is in itself a good thing, *as long as* the autonomy and sovereignty of Europe is not endangered.” But that's the problem. Because he then expressed “concern that in Italy and other European countries, infrastructure of strategic importance like power networks, rapid rail lines or harbors are no longer in European but in Chinese hands.” The EU is very connected. Unified currency, free trade, basically no borders. So what happens in Italy, doesn't stay in Italy. It affects all of Europe. Of course, that's exactly what the Chinese Communist Party is hoping for. Italy is a great way for them to get another foot in Europe's door. Like through investing in the Italian port of Trieste. And guess who else is yelling across the water at Italy? America! The National Security Council said in a tweet that “Italy is a major global economy and a great investment destination. Endorsing BRI lends legitimacy to China's predatory approach to investment and will bring no benefits to the Italian people.” The US government's main concern is that Italy's Belt and Road deal could be a ploy to strengthen China's military influence and could be used to spread technologies used for espionage. And spread them not just in Italy, but potentially throughout Europe. Back in February, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the US wouldn't partner with countries that use Huawei technology because of security concerns. Some Italian politicians have pushed for a Huawei 5G ban after Pompeo's warning. But Deputy Prime Minister Luigi “Win-win-win” Di Maio doesn't seem the slightest bit concerned. He told CNBC that the deals he signed contain “nothing for them to worry about, nothing relating to 5G or any agreement on strategic telecommunications.” And then, he says, there's always “golden power.” Golden power is special legislation that gives the Italian government greater control over strategic assets. But now that China's got its first G7 country hitched up to the Belt and Road train, time will tell what win-win-win really looks like. So what do you think about Italy signing onto the Belt and Road? Leave your comments below. And now it's time for me to answer a question from one of you— fans who support China Uncensored through the crowdfunding website Patreon. The Maddest Hatter asks: “Do you think the Belt and Road Initiative is inherently bad? Or do you think it could benefit everyone if the CCP stopped using debt traps and turned it into a more cooperative venture? Good question. Investment is not inherently bad. But with the Belt and Road Initiative, you have to consider the Chinese Communist Party's strategic purpose behind the investment— and you can tell by what they're investing in. China is investing in technology partnerships and raw materials. Chinese companies then take this know-how and materials back to China, whether they make, well, they make everything in China. China also invests in building shipping ports, airports, and rail lines. This is largely so they can sell those made-in-China goods to all the same countries they took the technology and raw materials from. If some of this strategy sounds familiar, it is. It's like what European colonizers did back in the day. Take other countries' raw materials, manufacture everything in Europe, and then sell them finished goods— but don't encourage those countries to do their own manufacturing. And who got rich in that scheme? The colonizers. So the Belt and Road strategy is inherently designed to exploit other countries. Not to mention building military bases, like the one in Djibouti. In that sense, the Belt and Road Initiative is fundamentally problematic. I don't think it could ever be turned into a truly cooperative venture, because that's just not what it's designed to do. Thanks for your question, Maddest Hatter. And thank you for watching China Uncensored. Support our show through the crowdfunding website Patreon... ...with a dollar or more per episode. Once again, I'm Chris Chappell. See you next time.