Official: BRI ‘debt trap’ claims merely smears

This undated photo shows a view of Nansha Port in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Claims about “debt traps” linked to the Belt and Road Initiative are groundless smears, and will not stop the initiative from going forward, said Guo Weimin, spokesperson for the first session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

China has always followed inter nationally recognized practices and the principle of debt sustainability when promoting BRI cooperation, and has worked to establish an investment and financing system that is stable, sustainable and with controllable risks, Guo said at a news conference on Friday.

By mid-February, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation documents with 151 countries and 32 international organizations

In order to avoid creating new debt risks for countries participating in the initiative, China has always taken into account their conditions when offering loans for their projects, Guo said.

READ MORE: Belt and Road projects see shift to green infrastructure investments

China has ratified the document of Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road with 29 countries to promote the awareness of debt sustainability, Guo said.

Also, the country issued a debt sustainability framework for countries participating in the initiative in April 2019 to help them improve their ability to manage debts.

The BRI, which involves mainly infrastructure and production, has added to high-quality assets in participating countries, Guo said.

Besides the major projects, a number of agricultural, medical and poverty reduction programs have also been carried out in these countries under the initiative to help improve local people’s livelihoods, he added.

By mid-February, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation documents with 151 countries and 32 international organizations, Guo said, pointing out that the initiative has become ever more welcomed around the world.

READ MORE: China, Belt and Road countries enjoy closer trade ties

Also, annual trade between China and the other participating countries almost doubled over the past decade, increasing from $1.04 trillion in 2013 to $2.07 trillion in 2022, Guo said, adding that people-to people exchanges between them are in full swing.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the initiative, which was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. 

For the past 10 years, the initiative has witnessed the completion or operation of a number of infrastructure projects, including the China-Laos Railway and Piraeus Port in Greece.