First I would like to give credit to
"Indus ka Nalka (tarikhdan
)" who introduced me to this piece of information.
Now lemme copy paste the stuff here with better formating ;))
To cite this article: Zahid Khan , Guo Changgang , Muhammad Afzaal , Riaz Ahmad & Samuel Aron Issack (2020): Debunking Criticism on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, The Chinese Economy, DOI:
- Zahid Khan
- Guo Changgang
- Muhammad Afzaal
- Riaz Ahmad
- Samuel Aron Issack
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10971475.2020.1792065 Published online: 24 Jul 2020.
1.) Institute of Global Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China;
2.) World History Department, Center for Global Studies, Center for Turkish Studies and Dean of Graduate School at Shanghai University, Shanghai, China;
3.) School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jia Tong University, Shanghai, PR China;
4.) School of Public Policy and Administration, Xi’ian Jiaotong University, Xi’ian, China.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a pilot flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Although this project has been received in a relatively positive manner by actors regionally and worldwide, it has also been subject to serious criticisms in domestic and international publications. These criticisms include the claims that Pakistan might become a colony or province of China, and that Pakistan is faced with a debt-trap as a result of Chinese loans. This article outlines these claims and proceeds to show that neither stands up to close scrutiny. Moreover, the article approach is alienated into two parts; first, looks at how the distinctive criticism propagated by critics whilst secondly, a critical approach is used to debunk all these criticism with the help of respondents’ reactions. Consequently, it may provide few policy recommendations. Keywords:
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; Belt and Road Initiative; criticism; colonization; debt-trap.
With the inception of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, an atmosphere of criticism and misinformation has been propagated by several local and international publications which ultimately goals to make CPEC more controversial and representing a negative image of China around the world. Before debunking the imprecise copious criticism, it is a pre-requisite to understand the rationale of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project that why Pakistan crave for it and agreed with China to lay its foundation? In-fact, this project is blessing for Pakistan’s economic growth. China truly abetted Pakistan to draw world attention toward new Pakistan with a vision of economic development, political stability, and regional peace. Woefully, everyone thought that Pakistan is a safe zone for terrorist networks due to the international political agendas. However, president of China Xi Jinping’s signature on an agreement with Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif in April 2015 laid a foundation of mega project of CPEC. As a result of this, the world began to view Pakistan as a safe haven for billions of dollars of Chinese investment. It was quoted from the wall street journal that “CPEC–Draws world attention to Pakistan” and all of sudden Pakistan got a new identity (Iqbal, 2018).
Structurally, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a pilot flagship project of BRI plan supplemented with an initial worth of $46 billion which was exceeded to $62 billion later on. This project is based on the core formula of “1þ4” comprising the CPEC project and four portfolios include: Infrastructure investment, Energy, Industrial Cooperation and Gwadar Port (Askari,2015).
Certainly, the portfolios of project provide a pave-line to the country’s better infrastructure, transportation system, energy needs and growing dwindle economy of Pakistan (Butt, 2017). Prior to CPEC project, the country has had worn-out more strategically and politically by other major powers and pushed into the war zones because of their strategic ally. They often supported weak governance system of Pakistan, the corrupt political elites and helped them financially without a proper accountability. In the last seventy years history of Pakistan, no major power offered truly Pakistan as an economic allay, nevertheless, pushing Pakistan into the cage of IMF loans with conditional high interest rates which ultimately leading to the debt-trap policies.
Likewise,Pakistan suffered a lot and lost more than 30,000 lives in the so-called war on terror, and eventually left isolated regionally and worldwide. Before the inception of CPEC project, the foreign investors were not ready to invest in Pakistan because of inexorable security situations. Meanwhile, the foundation of CPEC project appeared as a blessing for Pakistan’s economic growth which marked a new identity to Pakistan with a vision of economic development, political stability, and regional peace (Iqbal, 2017a).
Initially, CPEC project is highly propped-up by Pakistan and considered as a game-changer for Pakistan’s socio-economic development. Nevertheless, it is officially opposed by India due to its conventional adversary with Pakistan, and also frequent strategic skepticism raised by United State (Khan et al., 2018). In doing so, the global and regional competitors of China are endeavoring to make CPEC project more controversial through criticism and propagation of cherry-picked information’s with the help of “redundant sources.” The central idea of the question is more critical and complex, which is alienated further into two key parts; foremost one is that numerous scholars and analysts are arguing that CPEC project will lead Pakistan to the China’s colony, and also compared it with the former British East India (BEIC) Company of subcontinent. The second part addresses the argument of debt-trap that the loans of CPEC project are high interest based, and unable to re-pay for Pakistan in current economic situations. Hence, the diverse parts of key question are measured with the help of critical approach which is not focused on take-out the project but rather prefer to improve it through raising awareness, critical reflection and self-analysis (Robbins & Barnwell, 2016).
CPEC may leads Pakistan to the China’s colony?
This section of the paper mainly focuses on the pivotal argument that CPEC may lead Pakistan to China’s colony, which is identical to the on-going criticism regarding china’s colonization plan for Pakistan through CPEC particularly, and BRI in general. In-fact, the foundation of CPEC is unlocked the door for pointless assumptions and pessimistic narrative for China competitors regionally and world-wide and stabbed to create a fear and misunderstanding among the BRI members states. One of the biggest myth propagated on CPEC is that Pakistan might become a colony or province of China. Historians and experts are well aware that colonialism and imperialism are legacies of countries of the global north. The prolonged history of China is free from invasion to other territories, and never harbored imperial structure (Iqbal, 2017d).
Rationally, the skeptics point-out trade deficit with China as a reason to show concern on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. For instance, Mourdoukoutas (2018)
claimed in forbs that “One day, China will turn Pakistan into its own ‘Semi-colony’, as it did recently with Sri-Lanka.”
He argued on the basis of current account deficit, government debt, and external debt. According to him, the current account deficit recorded $3867 million for Pakistan in the 4th quarter of 2017. The state current account averaged $-587.18 million from 1976 to 2017—the highest value of $1418 million recorded in the 3rd quarter and lowest value of $-4419 million in the 2nd quarter of 2017.
Likewise, the state’s total government debt equivalent to 67.20 percent of the state GDP in 2017. Pakistan’s external debt raised to $88891 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 from $85052 million in the 3rd quarter of 2017. In the meantime, Pakistan’s foreign capital flows and foreign 2 Z. KHAN ET AL
. currency reserves are dwindling, making it increase likely that Pakistan will ask to re-schedule its debt to China. May be, this debt would be transfer to equity, which in essence will handle CPEC to China. While taking CPEC into consideration, China has already invested about 20 percent of Pakistan’s total economy ($270 billion). However, by 2030 Pakistan would have to pay back $90 billion and this would be an additional burden (Sood, 2017).
In addition, Mourdoukoutas compared CPEC project with Sri-Lankan Hambantota port where’s China rescheduled the Sri-Lankan debt, transferred the port officially into China’s port for 99 years lease. This lease agreement gives leverage to the Chinese officials and merchants and accounted for 70 percent stake in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) prominent station. The port development initiated with loans from China, nevertheless, Sri-Lanka could not pay-back and ultimately, China converted these loans into equity, in essence turning Sri-Lanka into a “semi-colony” dramatically (Mourdoukoutas, 2018).
Likewise, Zumburn (2018) reported in Wall Street Journal that China gives huge loans to the developing countries and invest in BRI member states. However, some recipients are not in position to pay-back them. He also quoted the same instance of Sri-Lankan seaport and dubbed that China’s security ports are potentially strategic maritime trade routes. He also compared these types of loans with “Debt-trap Diplomacy” and corollaries that China could do it again.
Indeed, Pak-China relationship is “all-weather friendship” but why relying too heavily on China, and placing of its much state economy in the hands of Chinese investors which resented by those who fear that the country will become a de-facto colony of China. Regarding trade- deficit issue, the respondent reaction is more substantial, as statement of Ahsan Iqbal (former federal minister) released by Pakistan Embassy Norway that China’s competitiveness in exports is universal and not distinct to Pakistan. Whereas, in depth analysis reveals the current trade deficit of China with Pakistan and other competitor states such as US and India provides an insight to debunk the false insight of colonialism. Pakistan’s current trade deficit with China is $6.2 billion. In comparison, The trade deficit of US with China marked a new record of $375.2 billion in 2017, raised from $347 billion in 2016, an increase of $28.2 billion which is equal to 8.1 percent, and India trade deficit stands at $47 billion (Iqbal, 2017b). However, the phenomenon makes an argument that if trade deficit becomes the cause of colonization; It gives birth to an argument that the US and India are tended to becoming colonies of China which can never be assumed. Likewise, it is bizarre to make such claims about the Pak-China relationship. Both countries respect the sovereignty of each other, and CPEC is based on the shared vision of both countries: BRI and vision 2025 (Iqbal, 2017b).
Prior to the CPEC, Pakistan trade deficit with China was high if compares with the current trade deficit. Xia (2019) reported the statistics of State of Bank (SBP) that Pakistan’s trade deficit with China decreased to $5.48 billion (11-percent) during the last eight months from July 2018 to February 2019 as compared to trade deficit of $6.22 billion in the same period of preceding year.
Correspondingly, the SBP data noted two key reasons for decreasing trade deficit of Pakistan with China, including an increase in Pakistani exports to China and a rapid drop in its imports from China. Where’s Pakistan exports to China increased by 3.8 percent to $1.15 billion as compare to the exports of $1.106 billion recorded from July 2017 to February 2018.
Likewise, Pakistan’s imports from China also decreased by 9.43 percent to $6.63 billion from $7.32 billion in the same period. On annual basis, Pakistan’s imports from China dropped to $686.1 million in February 2019 against the imports worth of $786.6 million recorded during early months of the same period. The country’s export was increased when Pakistani’s premier Imran Khan shown his desire to increase the country’s overall annual exports to $27 billion from existing $23.4 billion. Kundi (2019) highlighted that Pakistan didn’t exploit well the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)-1 signed between China and Pakistan in 2006.
However, the China-Pakistan Free trade Agreement (CPFTA) Phase-2 was resulted after the eleventh round of debate in April 2019, and was signed between the leadership of both countries. Pakistan also secured tariff relaxation and duty free market access for 313 tariff lines.
THE CHINESE ECONOMY 3:
Likewise, the critics of China’s overseas investments highlighted the case of the Sri- Lankan port of Hambantota—the previous Sri-Lankan president agreed to swap equity in the loss-making venture to China in exchange for debt forgiveness (Rafiq, 2017; Zumburn, 2018).
The Sri-Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaka’s lend billions of dollars in loan from China government for infrastructure projects in his own constituency (Shah, 2016). The total national debt of Sri-Lanka is approximately $64.9 billion, of which $8 billion owed to China. Initially, he borrowed $301 million money from China with high interest rate of 6.3 percent, while the interest rate on soft loans from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank are available in the range of 0.25 to 3 percent. The previous government was more corrupt and due to weak governance system and dwindle economy, they didn’t pay back the due loans on time which ultimately transferred to the equity (Economic Times, 2017).
In response, the Barry Sautman
, a professor in the Division of Social Science at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology stated that false myth propagated by international media that Sri Lanka’s government was forced to sign a “lease contract” of Hambantota port for 99 years just after the failing to repay Chinese loans that were racking up 6.3 percent interest “are untrue”. He added more in his recent article published on the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that China hold an estimated 9 to 15 percent of Sri- Lanka external debt which is based on his team field research in Sri-Lanka. While remaining all high-interest loans from commercial banks, which are mainly Western based. International sovereign bonds hold about half of its external debt, with "Americans holding two-thirds of their value and Asians only about 8 percent."
Likewise, Sri-Lanka must pay interest rate averaging 6.3 percent on international loans within 7 years. On the contrary, more than 2–3rd of the value of Chinese financing to Sri-Lanka from 2001 to 2007, including 2–3rd to Hambantota port, bear only 2 percent of interest, and mostly repayable more than 20 years, he argued. "Ironically then, if Sri Lanka is debt distressed, it owes more to American and other Western entities than to Chinese,"
Nevertheless, the borrowing of money, lease or interest base systems exist world-wide. Likewise, IMF and other international financial institutions are also providing high interest- based loans to the developing and smaller nations which ultimately leads to the debt trap (Shah, 2016).
Secondly, few of critics claimed that China’s increasing population in Pakistan is an alarming situation for the country and compared it with colonial structure. For instance, Chaudhury (2018) reported in Economic Times that under the CPEC project, China is going to construct a modern city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals at a cost of $150 million in Gwadar region. Half a million Chinese nationals will be housed in proposed city of Gwadar by 2022. In-fact, these nationals are workforce for the financial district of Gwadar. This zone will be specified merely for Chinese citizens, which basically means that Pakistan will be used as a colony of China. Iqbal (2017d) responded immediately that only few thousand of Chinese nationals are living in Pakistan and making a positive contribution to country’s economy. Most of them are labor migrants who will leave back to China after completion of the projects. In contrary, approximately 8 million Chinese are living in Malaysia, 900,000 in Canada, 600,000 in Japan and 400,000 in France and more than 2.5 million are living in the United States. In that circumstances, to claims that Chinese nationals are surpassing Pakistani society is simply a bluffing while nothing to do with reality.
Thirdly, critics argued that the on-going CPEC development project is a new model of East India Company (EIC) which leads Pakistan to the China’s colony. This issue sparked when the former senator Tahir Mashhadi voiced against exorbitant loans and power tariffs demand according to the Beijing interest (Shah, 2016).
It’s really a shabby and hyperbole approach of copious critics to compare age of imperialism with current globalization era and modern international political system which is based on the notion of nation-state. This is not an age of imperialism or radical type of colonization. If we recalled the history of colonization, when the British colonized sub-continent in the mid of 19th century, that was a true model of “Empire-state” system 4 Z. KHAN ET AL.
worldwide (Rothermund, 2006).
There is a zilch matching between both the cases. The primarily intention of EIC was doing trade in subcontinent which ultimately shifted to the power under three diverse components:
The first component was the economic, political and social environment which shaped the company’s internal state;
the second was the decision-making part which was a controlling mechanism;
and the third was the operational part which dealt with the actual physical aspects of trade.
Besides, there were no proper ingress and trade policies, and lack of governance system to ensure check and balance which ultimately overthrew the local rule by brutal use of British force (Chaudhuri, 1978).
As the distinguished British historian Darymple noted that the most crucial part of EIC colonization was that they had private army of about 260,000—twice of the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of 225.3 million and expenses 234.5 million (Dalrymple, 2015).
Likewise, with an end of colonization era, all the empires segregated into numerous independent states and republics with demarcated boundaries and specific constitution, and at present, they can demonstrate well to protect their territorial integrity and sovereignty with all possible means. In South Asian region, Afghanistan is the most recent example of it, where’s the US susceptible to establish US-led government and hegemonic power throughout of Afghanistan. In-spite of that the present leadership of US is seeking a safe way for an esteem exit from Afghanistan (Hussain, 2019).
Nonetheless, there is a huge disparity between EIC and CPEC. In case of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity—both the countries enjoy a long testified friendship based on mutual trust, cooperation and admiration (Shah, 2016).
Moreover, the government of Pakistan setup Special Security Division (SSD) for the security of project with a total strength of 13,700 armed forces (nine regular military battalions and six Paramilitary wings) which are quite enough to protect this project from internal and external security threats (Xuequan, 2017).
Similarly, Board of Investment (BOI) mandate under the government of Pakistan encompasses policy reforms to update their trade policies and regulatory framework, signed MOUs and bi-lateral investment treaties, provisions of contract and partnership Acts, the security clearance for work visas, handling entry permits, policy for opening of liaison or branch offices, lease system, introduced legal framework for investment and establishment of special economic zones through industrial clusterization (Board of Investment, 2018).
Regardless, several critics arguing that CPEC project is a “debt-trap” for Pakistan which leads Pakistan to the worst economic situation, as Noor Ahmed, secretary of the Economic Affairs Division of Pakistan (EADP) responded that the Pakistan’s total foreign debt is about $106 billion. Of which, Chinese loans account for only 10 to 11 percent, while the remaining are from the International Monetary Fund, Paris Club, and other Western organizations.
He added more that China always supported Pakistan during tough economic crises. Through the establishment of CPEC, China is building infrastructure in Pakistan to save its dwindling economy, and some of its money coming into Pakistan are purely an investment, some are interest-free loans, and other loans are based on friendly terms (MOFCOM, 2019).
Is CPEC a debt trap project for Pakistan?
With the speedy advancement through CPEC in Pakistan, several domestic and international criticism appeared against the project and termed the multi-billion dollar project as a “debt-trap” for Pakistan, and presumed that it would be double burden on Pakistan’s economy (Malik, 2019).
Although, CPEC is a development project and it has a huge potential to transform the socio-economic makeup of Pakistan. Nevertheless, copious heckler worried that it would lead to the debt-trap, and making Pakistan a colony of China.
Correspondingly, a Pakistani prominent economist, Hafeez Pasha highlighted a serious concern over Pakistan potential to service the growing debt. He has already calculated that the debt to GDP ratio goes higher from 70 percent to 90 percent, which is a challenging issue for country economy (Khalik, 2018). Likewise, Page and Shah (2018) THE CHINESE ECONOMY 5 reported in Wall Street Journal that there are skepticism's regarding government forecasts that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will increase economic growth from 5.8 percent to 7 percent by 2023, letting Pakistan to service its debt. It was also highlighted in March IMF report that Pakistan’s rising current account deficit and external debt obligations partly on CPEC, and predicated growth would flat-line at 5 percent until 2023. Therefore, “the new regime of Pakistan will have to do some adjustment, with us or without us,” said by Teresa Daban, the IMF representative in Pakistan. Regardless, this plan is also considered as a model of Debt Trap Diplomacy (DTD), claimed by an Indian strategist, Brahma Chellaney
*. He noted that China is assisting small and developing countries with high interest loans which are unable to pay for them, and ultimately undermine those countries sovereignty. His view reflects an Indo-American consensus, as suggested by Tillerson’s reference to “predatory economics” (Chellaney, 2017). He added more in project syndicate that China is offering infrastructure financing and loans for unstable projects to protect Beijing access to the local markets or resources, rather than to lift domestic economies, and ultimately these countries plunge into a debt-trap plan that leaves them vulnerable to China’s influence.* Chellaney
recalled a recent example of Sri-Lanka’s port that Chinese loans were transformed into equity, and ultimately “sea-port” handed over to a Chinese state run company for 99 year lease. Correspondingly, Chaudhury (2017) highlighted in the Economic Times that gradually, these debts are converting into equity, and at the end ownership goes to the Chinese companies that will not just adversely affect on Pakistan and Sri-Lankan economies but also create security implications for India due to China’s steady position in the periphery. This has key lesson for Bangladesh and Nepal where China has guaranteed to invest billions. China has projected a master plan for Pakistan’s economic transformation under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which is only a strategic plan for China’s colonial control of Pakistan. Beijing paid heavy loans from the Chinese banks at high interest rates to finance the project, and some of the critics presumed that Pakistan would take nearly 40 years to pay back these loans.The Beijing funding for Pakistan is actually a “debt-trap” plan which would take control of country’s economic and strategic sectors. He added more that CPEC is a China project, and Pakistan is the only topographical part of it. Cynical it is, then, Pakistan had already fought against formal communist regime known as “Soviet Union” to control it gaining access to the warm waters, nevertheless, another former communist country is easily permitted for the same access. Additionally, it is undeniable that Pakistan has no benefit from China’s investment, obviously it has, as an estimate shared by Pakistan’s Business Council (PBC) suggest the “project could account for 20 percent of the GDP over the next five years and increase growth by 3 percent. Nevertheless, frequent onlookers prudence Pakistan after how Beijing terms and investment turned bitter in Sri-Lanka, Tajikistan and several parts of the Africa.
In both Sri-Lanka and Tajikistan cases, with mounting costs and debts incurred by the host countries, bulky parts of land were handed over to the Chinese companies in lieu of loans and unpaid funds. It is predictable that Tajikistan had to relinquish one percent of its country to China since they were unable to re-pay loans. Therefore, Ziadi
noted that there are still worries that Pakistan would become another province of China, or will be reduced to being a “vassal state” (Chaudhury, 2017; Zaidi, 2017). In-fact, the “debt-trap” issue sparked at a time when China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has addressed the critical bottlenecks in energy and infrastructure, and both nations have agreed to deepen the base of this initiative (Assadi, 2018). These criticisms were rejected by respondents’ with more rational responses. For instance, the former federal minister, Ahsan Iqbal responded sound to the Pasha argument that even in coming five years, debt ratio will come down from 64 percent. Nevertheless, the borrowing of money does not entail the impression that country will turn into the debt-trap whilst it depends on figuring-out whether the debt is a productive borrowing or un-productive. In doing so, the debts can improve infrastructure of a country and its growth rate, which will help to improve the capacity of the state economy to make it more stable. 6 Z. KHAN ET AL.
Whatever, the liabilities Pakistan has, they are well in capacity of Pakistan to pay-back. But unfortunately, there are several so-called politicians and economic analysts who are always seeking flaws in the entire project of CPEC. They are trying to construct a “negative narrative” which sometimes gives undue worries to the people of Pakistan that the GDP ratio of Pakistan was going out of control. In 2013, it was 63 percent and the same figure in 2016 as well. But, we are trying to bring it down. Therefore, debt trap issue has no possibility in near future, and the government has a potential to deal with it (Iqbal, 2017b). Moreover, the former advisor to PM, Sartaj Aziz ensured that the CPEC loans for infrastructure are at the rate of 2 percent interest (Concessional-based, nor commercial one), and the payback time is 20 to 25 years. He emphasized the point that most of this outlay is in the form of investment. CPEC loans for infrastructure are on soft-loan basis at the rate of approximately 2 percent and the payback time is 20 to 25 years. Overall investment to GDP ratio will increase due to the CPEC projects.” He added more, "we have achieved 4.5 percent GDP growth this year, which can increase more by overcoming energy shortages. In this regard, energy-related projects in the CPEC can prove to be very helpful. Thus, overcoming the energy shortages will also increase our GDP growth rate, which is expected to increase to 5 percent this year” (Aziz, 2016; Butt, 2016). Likewise, the Page and Shah criticism on CPEC and BRI in Wall Street Journal is purely based on “redundant sources,” and shows an anti-Beijing narrative. Both the countries officially reacted to theses baseless allegations.
As per statistical data of Pakistani ministry of Finance, 42 percent of the external debt was taken from multi-lateral financial institution, 18 percent from the Paris club. correspondingly, the loans received under the CPEC project accounts to only 10 percent of the total external debt, and it also offers the lower interest rate on concessional-base rather than commercial one (Assadi, 2018). The same statistics were also released by the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, and rejected misinformation’s of the assumed “debt trap” for Pakistan regarding CPEC framework. In the same way, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi also clarified the figures about debts during his visit to Pakistan by stating that "47 percent of Pakistan’s debt related to the IMF and the Asian Development Bank.” Additionally, Noor Ahmed, secretary of the Economic Affairs Division of Pakistan (EAPD) interviewed to the Xinhua that Pakistan’s overall foreign debt is approximately US$106 billion and Chinese loan accounts for a mere 10 to 11 percent of the total foreign debt, where’s the remaining 89 to 90 percent is from other sources such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), Paris Club, and other western organizations
Certainly, the leadership of Pakistan is highly committed to pursuing the strategic and economic relationship with China to new heights. Pakistan has already proved that only 6$billion received as a concessional loan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with an interest rate of 2.29 percent along with the grace period of 7 years and a re-payment period of 20 to 25 years. However officials clarified that the debt re-payment will begin in 2021 with an estimated amount of 300–400 million annually and slowly peak to approximately 3.5 billion by fiscal year 2024–25 (Assadi, 2018).
Secondly, criticism is mainly based on the issue of Sri-Lankan sea-port known as “Hambantota International Port.” The former government of the Sri-Lanka didn’t pay back on due time, and ultimately loans were converted into equity. In response to the criticism, Barry Sautman, professor at HKUST stated that western media is propagating false myths against China, and reported that Sri Lankan government was forced to sign a “lease-contract” of Hambantota port for 99 years just after the failing to repay Chinese loans. He said, “China hold about 9 to 15 percent of Sri-Lanka external debt which is based on his team field research in Sri-Lanka. The remaining all high interest loans from commercial banks which are mainly western based. Ironically then, if Sri-Lanka is debt distressed, it owes more to American and other Western entities than to Chinese.”
In reality, Chinese infrastructure loans have no intention to get a hold on valuable assets of any country or undermine its sovereignty. There is no Chinese plot to control the world (MOFCOM,2019).
Likewise, Deborah Brautigam, an expert on China-Africa relations at John Hopkins THE CHINESE ECONOMY 7 University, rejected openly such allegations in her article published by “New York Time” on April 26. She stated that “found feeble evidence of a pattern signifying that Chinese banks are intentionally funding loss-making projects to obtain strategic advantages for China.” The Sri-Lankan port is often referred by critics, but “that’s a special case, and it is extensively misunderstood,”
she wrote. Her research conducted by China-Africa Research Initiative at the SIAS
*, which include information’s on* more than 1,000 Chinese loans in Africa between 2000 and 2017, totaling more than $143 billion, as well as a study by Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center which has identified and tracked more than $140 billion in Chinese loans to Latin America and the Caribbean since 2005. This research based on the findings, she concluded that “the risks of the BRI are often hyperbole and mischaracterized.” In-fact, the Belt and Road Initiative is a plan of “mutual connectivity and mutual communications”
Apart from, Rhodium Group (RG), a New York based independent research group, published a report on April 29, also rebuffed the debt-trap allegations against China. RG report is also based on 40 cases of external debt renegotiation between 2007 and present year in 24 countries,
it was assessed in report that assets grab was a rare case.
“China was obviously tending to re-negotiate the debts.” Another former U.S. official for China during Obama administration, Ryan Hass, and also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution stated “much of the U.S. government’s narrative on the BRI has been built around debt-trap diplomacy”
. He realized a fear that the U.S. government is making an argument that is more persuasive to itself than to others (MOFCOM, 2019).
Correspondingly, an Egyptian economist, Hisham Abu Bakar Metwally serving with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry, stated that criticisms are mostly twisting around “debt-trap” in African countries, including Ethopia and Kenya. However, the reality is quite clear to all that these developing countries highly need of developing infrastructure such as roads, railways and bridges which could improve their economic development. Therefore, BRI program (formerly known as OBOR) is a new reality for the world to overcome the major problems and achieve development for all (Chenyang & Shaojun, 2018).
The best example of development in Africa is Ethiopia, which annual GDP growth rate is about 7 percent. In the same way, Xu Haoliang, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, stated that the belt and road initiative is a worldwide program that has the potential to make possible the achievement of sustainable development goals. Noticeably, it can also fill in the financing gaps and development needs in developing countries with loans and investment from China and other countries (Assadi, 2018;MOFCOM, 2019). [Note: The Max Lines on This Post is 4000 only allowed hence I'm breaking it up into Two Parts So this will be our Part 1]
Link to Part 2: https://imgshare.io/image/NJbKwS https://imgshare.io/image/NJbQ08 https://imgshare.io/image/NJbLyK