Beijing hit´s back on Wednesday after an American Official was quoted as saying that Italy’s global standing could be affected if it Signs up to China’s huge Belt and Road Infrastructure Initiative (BRI).

The Initiative features a series of Beijing funded major Port, Rail and Road Projects to better connect China to Europe, Africa and Asia for a modern version of the Silk Road.

Rome is reportedly close to signing a memorandum of understanding to join the initiative, making it the first G7 country to do so.

The Financial Times quoted Garrett Marquis, White House National Security Council spokesperson, as saying that this could “Damage Italy’s Global Reputation”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said this was not true. “I think those judgements are truly absurd,” Lu said.

“As a Great Country and a Great Economy, Italy knows where its interests are and it can conduct Independent Policies”.