here appears to be some turbulence ahead for relations between Italy and China with China announcing that Italy had decided to resume some of its flights between the two countries and Italy responding with “nope.”
Amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, a number of countries have taken steps to cut down on flights to and from China, which is why the Chinese Foreign Ministry was happy to note on Friday that Italy was apparently willing to resume some of these flights.
However, this information was directly contradicted later in the day with Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, declaring that direct air traffic between Italy and China remains shut down.
“The block on flights is a measure taken to immediately deal with an emergency and we will keep it in place as long as health authorities and therefore the scientific community tell us we should,” he said at a news conference in Madrid.
Di Maio’s response came after China’s Foreign Ministry said that vice foreign minister Qin Gang had met with Italy’s ambassador to China, Luca Ferrari, on Thursday and expressed how the block was causing great inconvenience to travelers from both countries and leaving Chinese citizens stranded in Italy.
According to the Chinese side, Ferrari told Qin that Italy was willing to approve the resumption of some flights upon Chinese airlines’ application. However, the Italian side says that nothing of the sort was agreed upon.
At least China has Pakistan to rely on.