Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has informed China that Italy plans to end a controversial investment pact, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Wednesday.

Meloni “told China about Italy’s plan to exit the Belt and Road” Initiative, Tajani told Fox News during a visit to New York. 

Italy must decide by the end of the year whether to renew Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature program. Meloni has for months been preparing the ground diplomatically for ending the memorandum that Italy signed with China in 2019, the only Group of Seven country to do so.

Tajani visited China earlier this month in a bid to lay the ground for the exit while trying to avoid a rupture with the world’s second-largest economy. Bloomberg was first to report earlier this year that Italy was signaling to allies that it intended to pull out of the BRI.

On the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in India earlier this month, Meloni privately signaled to Chinese Premier Li Qiang that Italy is planning to exit from the investment pact, according to a person familiar with the matter. But she has yet to take a public position on the matter.

The BRI was launched by Xi a decade ago to boost economic ties and expand the influence of the world’s second economy. 

Italy, like much of Europe, has been caught in the middle as tensions escalate between Washington and Beijing, and that’s been compounded by China’s support for Russia since it invaded Ukraine. European countries are struggling to balance a desire to engage with China on trade and investment while pushing back against claims of economic coercion and human rights concerns, as well as risks associated with becoming too dependent on supplies from China.