Paris, Sept. 23 (CNA) The politician favored to be Italy's next prime minister would reverse course on her country's support for China's Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country's general election on Sunday.
"Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy," said Giorgia Meloni in a recent interview with CNA.
Italians will vote on in a snap election triggered by the resignation of former Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners to support him in a confidence vote on July 20.
As the leader of the far-right Fratelli d'Italia (FdI, or the Brothers of Italy), which recent polls show will head a coalition government after the election, the 45-year-old Meloni would become Italy's first far-right prime minister since World War II and first ever female prime minister.
The Brothers of Italy traces its origins to the post-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) and retains its logo, but Meloni has tried to distance the party, which she co-founded in 2012, from its past. She has described the FdI as a mainstream conservative party similar to the Conservative Party of Britain and the Republican Party of the United States.
Unlike most far-right parties in Europe, including some of her potential coalition partners, Meloni has been tough on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin and has not opposed European integration.
In a written response to questions from CNA, she voiced support for Taiwan and criticized China's assertive actions across the globe and their implications for Italy and the EU.
Referring to the relationship between her party and Taiwan as a "sincere friendship," Meloni said she has been "following closely with unease" what is happening around Taiwan as a result of the intensified Chinese threats.
"This is an unacceptable conduct by Beijing, a conduct that we strongly condemn, together with all the democracies of the free world," Meloni said, when asked about recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
The EU must "deploy all the political and diplomatic weapons at its disposal" and "put pressure as hard as possible" to prevent China from causing any military conflict in the Taiwan Strait, said Meloni, who has been president of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party (ECR) in the European Parliament since 2020.
Taiwan is a strategic trade partner for Italy and Europe, Meloni said.
"Let us not forget that the EU is also a key outlet market for China, which risks being closed if they decide to attack Taiwan," she said.