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Italy - China, New Silky Road

Italy has become the first developed economy to sign up to China's global investment programme which has raised concerns among Italy's Western allies.

A total of 29 deals amounting to €2.5bn ($2.8bn) were signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Rome.

The project is seen as a new Silk Road which, just like the ancient trade route, aims to link China to Europe.

Italy's European Union allies and the United States have expressed concern at China's growing influence.

What is the Chinese project about?

The new Silk Road has another name - the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - and it involves a wave of Chinese funding for major infrastructure projects around the world, in a bid to speed Chinese goods to markets further afield. Critics see it as also representing a bold bid for geo-political and strategic influence.

It has already funded trains, roads, and ports, with Chinese construction firms given lucrative contracts to connect ports and cities - funded by loans from Chinese banks.