China refutes U.S. 'debt trap' accusations

2024-04-19 09:04:44Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China refutes U.S. 'debt trap' claim, says international creditors account for big chunk of developing countries' debts

China on Thursday refuted U.S. claims alleging Chinese aid to other countries had led to a "debt trap", stressing that Western-dominated commercial creditors and multilateral financial institutions account for a big chunk of the debt held by developing countries.

"The U.S.' accusations are untenable," a spokesperson from the China International Development Cooperation Agency said in a statement posted on the bureau's website on Thursday.

"China attaches great importance to the debt issue facing developing countries. We have followed the principle of consultations on an equal footing and mutually beneficial cooperation to help developing countries ease their debt burdens and grow their economies sustainably," said the spokesperson.

No country has fallen into debt difficulty because of cooperation with China, and no partner believes that China has led them into a "debt trap," the spokesperson said.

The comment came after U.S. officials alleged during a recent U.S. Congressional hearing that Chinese aid has resulted in a "debt trap", and the Safe City project disregards human rights and fuels corruption.

Stuck in the old era of Cold War thinking and zero-sum games, the U.S. has been for years smearing China, evidenced by the "debt trap" narrative fabricated by the U.S., Song Wei, a professor at the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The purpose behind the U.S. slander of China is fully exposed, as the West does not want to solve developing countries' debt problems at all, rather it seeks to destroy the partnerships between China and other developing countries and contain China's development, Song said.

She stressed that China's sovereign loans are a form of development aid, whose goal is to promote developing countries' progress. When borrower countries face difficulties in repaying debt, China generally solves the problem through bilateral negotiations and equal consultations with the hope of triggering their development capacity.

While offering loans at favorable terms, China adheres to the principle that recipient countries put forward demands and agreements. All the loans are made by adhering to the development orientation, and the associated projects have produced sound, long-term economic benefits, becoming important drivers for partner countries' economic growth.

According to a report by the World Bank, the implementation of initiatives including the Belt and Road Initiative will increase trade among participants by 4.1 percent and the additional trade is expected to increase global real incomes by 0.7 to 2.9 percent. By the end of 2030, these initiatives will generate business revenue of $1.6 trillion around the world.

The truth is, some Western-dominated commercial creditors and multilateral financial institutions that hype the "Chinese debt trap" narrative account for a large share of developing countries' debt and represent a major source of stress in terms of debt repayments. They should make material contributions to help ease the debt burdens of developing countries, the spokesperson said.

China remains committed to enhancing transparency of the country's foreign aid program, with a Chinese managed supervision and evaluation system on foreign aid already in place, and work such as supervision, evaluation and anti-corruption runs through the entire process of overseas assistance, the spokesperson continued.

China-assisted Safe City project is aimed at helping developing countries establish modern security systems and provide effective services to increase protection for local residents and foreign tourists. These projects have won acclaim from locals.

In contrast, the U.S. is engaging in massive, indiscriminate eavesdropping and data theft across the world. The U.S. not only manipulates public opinion domestically but also intervenes in other countries' internal affairs by taking advantage of its digital hegemony, which infringes on the privacy of the people of all countries, including foreign leaders, the spokesperson said.

China's foreign assistance has no political strings attached, nor has it forced others or made empty promises. It is hoped that the U.S. will abandon its Cold War mentality and hegemony so as to return to the original purpose of foreign aid for global development, the spokesperson noted.

"We are willing to join hands with all parties including the U.S. to strengthen communication and cooperation in the development field so as to promote every country's prosperity with action."

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