China responds to USAID Samantha Power’s comments on debt to Sri Lanka

China responds to USAID Samantha Power’s comments on debt to Sri Lanka

China responds to USAID Samantha Power’s comments on debt to Sri Lanka

Written by Zulfick Farzan

29 Jul, 2022 | 10:46 am

COLOMBO (News 1st); China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the China-Sri Lanka practical cooperation has always follows the principle of being Sri Lanka-led. 

He was responding to a question posed at the Regular Press Briefing on the comments made by Samantha Power, Administrator of USAID, who said on July 27th that China has provided Sri Lanka with “opaque loan deals at higher interest rates than other lenders” and financed infrastructure projects that often served little practical use over the past 20 years. 

Zhao Lijian said that all cooperation projects have gone through scientific planning and thorough assessment and are never attached with any political strings. 

"The cooperation has contributed to Sri Lanka’s economy and brought tangible benefits to the Sri Lankan people. Sri Lanka’s foreign debt is made up of multiple components. The share of China-related debts is far lower than that of the international capital market and multilateral development banks. Besides, China mostly extends to Sri Lanka preferential loans with low interest rates and long-term maturity, which have helped improve Sri Lanka’s infrastructure and livelihood. Shortly after Sri Lanka’s announcement to suspend international debt payments, Chinese financial institutions reached out to the Sri Lankan side and shown full readiness to find a proper way to handle the matured debts concerning China and help Sri Lanka to overcome the difficulties," he added.

China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian stressed that the global economic and financial markets have suffered enormously as a result of the US’s recent sudden interest rate hike and balance sheet reduction, which have rapidly siphoned off dollars on top of the US’s long-running quantitative easing policy and irresponsible massive stimulus. 

"The US’s wayward unilateral sanctions and tariff barriers have undermined the security of global supply and industrial chains, and worsened the price surge of energy, food and other bulk commodities.," he noted stating that this has further aggravated the economic and financial condition of developing countries including Sri Lanka.

US and other Western capital speculation in Sri Lanka and manipulation of the credit rating of the country seriously undermined Sri Lanka’s financing credibility and channels, said the spokesperson addign that the US should ask itself: "What has it done for the sustainable development of developing countries like Sri Lanka? What harm have US unilateral economic, financial and foreign policies brought to other countries?"

"We hope the US will genuinely help Sri Lanka overcome the current difficulties, ease debt burden and realize sustainable development, instead of unscrupulously latching onto every opportunity to shift the blame, smear other countries and advance geopolitical contests," he added.

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