Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun attends a thematic forum of the second Belt and Road Forum for international cooperation in Beijing, China, on Thursday. Jason Lee/Reuters
China on Thursday rejected “misunderstandings” fuelling concerns about its Belt and Road global infrastructure programme but vowed to tame debt risks as it opened a summit on its signature foreign policy.
President Xi Jinping’s pet project is a reboot of the ancient Silk Road to connect Asia to Europe and Africa through massive investments in maritime, road and rail projects.
The Belt and Road Initiative promises to bring much-needed modern infrastructure to developing countries, but the United States has dubbed it a “vanity project” and critics warn it is a “debt trap” favouring Chinese companies.
Huang Kunming, a member of China’s powerful Politburo, said at the opening of the forum in Beijing that there have been “some misunderstandings and unfounded rumours” about BRI that they hope to clear up.
But in a nod to the concerns over loans, Finance Minister Liu Kun said China would release a framework to “prevent debt risks,” according to state-owned China Securities Journal.
The “debt sustainability analysis framework” encourages Chinese financial institutions and BRI countries to voluntarily improve debt management levels, the report said.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Liu’s announcement and China’s increased focus on the long-term success of BRI projects were “very welcome steps in the right direction.”
Lagarde told the forum that “sound financial regulation, transparent rules for investment, and attention to fiscal sustainability” were needed to successfully open capital markets, according to her prepared remarks.
Leaders from 37 countries have begun to arrive in Beijing for the three-day forum, with officials from scores of other nations in attendance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose country became the first G7 member to sign up to Belt and Road, are among the headliners.
But EU powers Germany and France are sending ministers while the United States has not dispatched any officials from Washington.
“We call upon all countries to ensure that their economic diplomacy initiatives adhere to internationally-accepted norms and standards, promote sustainable, inclusive development, and advance good governance and strong economic institutions,” a US embassy spokesperson said.
Since Xi launched Belt and Road in 2013, China has invested $90 billion in projects while banks have provided between $200 billion and $300 billion in loans, according to Chinese officials.
But examples of debt trouble abound.
Sri Lanka turned over a deep-sea port to China for 99-years after it was unable to repay loans. Pakistan needs an international bailout.
And Montenegro has had to make difficult choices after taking on crushing Chinese debt to pay a Chinese company to build a new highway.Agence France-Presse
Chinese President Xi Jinping urged dozens of world leaders on Saturday to reject protectionism and invited more countries to participate in his global infrastructure project after seeking to ease concerns surrounding the programme.
China’s Belt and Road initiative must be green and sustainable, President Xi Jinping said at the opening of a summit on his grand plan on Friday, adding that the massive infrastructure and trade plan should result in “high quality” growth for everyone.
Horton, who took silver behind Sun at the weekend, refused to step onto the top step of the podium for photos after the medal ceremony in Gwangju, as doping allegations swirl around Sun.
"I would like to say sorry because today is your birthday and your great life partner is with me."
"During our treks we usually take trash bags on our treks but accidentally forgot them, next time will do more. Our citizens need to be educated to enjoy this beautiful county but be responsible tourists," he said.
Both Arab defendants – a motorist, 36, and his colleague, 37— kidnapped the Indian employee, 33, from a building housing his boss’ company in Baniyas area at around 9:30pm on May 26, the Criminal Court heard.
The parents of the twins Waseem and Nazma have been arrested for the killing that took place on Sunday. Waseem, who works as daily wager and already has a seven-year-old son, told the police that his financial condition was poor and he could not afford two daughters.