Home » Head of CCP liaison office sets off for Rome

Head of CCP liaison office sets off for Rome

Liu Jianchao
The leader of the Chinese Communist Party’s international relations department is slated to meet several Italian MPs, in an attempt to revive political ties ahead of Italy’s BRI decision

Walking the Silk Road to Rome. Chinese diplomat and politician Liu Jianchao, who has headed the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department for just over a year, is expected in the Italian capital this coming Sunday as part of his European tour, Il Foglio revealed. His mission is to strengthen relations with Italian parties as well as with the government and other institutions.

  • Mr Liu’s effort is dictated by current events, with the Meloni government seemingly determined not to renew the Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative signed under a previous government in 2019.

The details. According to Il Foglio, Mr Liu will meet some MPs from the Italy-China Parliamentary Friendship Association. China’s Embassy in Italy is also trying to organise a meeting with officials from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially Undersecretary Maria Tripodi, who went on a mission to China in April.

  • In an interview with Fanpage, the Chinese ambassador to Italy, Jia Guide, highlighted that leaving the BRI “would negatively impact [Italy’s] image, credibility and cooperation prospect.”
  • As Giulia Pompili, an expert China watcher, noted on Twitter, this phrasing amounts to “a veiled boycott threat to the Meloni government.”
  • “Not only that: [Mr] Jia says that China does not meddle in the internal affairs of others, yet he speaks of ‘correct decisions’ that the Italian government should take.”

The man behind the mission. Mr Liu has served as Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Director-General of the information department, and ambassador to the Philippines and Indonesia. A long-time diplomat, he began his career in the United Kingdom after studying at Oxford University, although his recent visit to London did not fail to cause controversy.

  • A bipartisan group of British MPs called on the Sunak government to deny him permission to land in London, following a report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO, which stated he “had ultimate responsibility for the command and supervision of thousands of international fugitive recovery operations and the irregular methods employed” when he was head of the International Fugitive Recovery Office, from August 2015 to April 2017.
    • The report depicts him as responsible for several actions carried out in clear violation of international rules and the human rights of Chinese citizens, including in Europe.

Image: CGTN

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