Countries involved in China’s massive international infrastructure push have reportedly asked Beijing for breaks on loans as the coronavirus roils their economies.
China has lent countries hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects under its “Belt and Road Initiative,” which aims to build railroads, highways, energy pipelines and other arteries linking the country with Europe, Africa and other parts of Asia.
But some poor nations building those links have asked Beijing for debt relief as they grapple with the pandemic, CNBC reported Sunday. China could help by suspending payments, extending payment periods or waiving interest, according to the network.
The countries seeking help include Pakistan, which asked Beijing last month to extend the repayment period on $30 billion in loans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. That $68 billion collection of projects aims to connect China to the Gwadar Port in Pakistan, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Several African countries are also believed to have asked Beijing for a break, the Financial Times reported last month. Chinese banks and contractors, along with the government, poured $143 billion in loans into Africa from 2000 to 2017, according to the paper.
In a letter last month, a group of US senators urged the Trump administration to take the lead in an international effort to pressure China’s institutions to renegotiate debts owed by developing nations “without a political quid pro quo.”
“Short of this, US and other Western taxpayers would be in essence bailing out Chinese financial institutions and enabling China’s debt-trap diplomacy,” the 16 senators wrote April 22.
Credit: Source link