China has offered $2.1 billion of debt relief to poor countries: Finance Minister
Global Times

A Chinese clerk counts US dollar banknotes next to yuan bills at a bank in Huaibei city, East China's Anhui Province. (File photo: IC)

China has extended debt relief worth a total of $2.1 billion to poor countries under the G20 framework, the most among G20 members in terms of deferral amount, Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun said Friday.

The China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of China, as official bilateral creditors, have suspended debt service payments worth $1.353 billion, benefiting 23 countries, Liu said in a statement on the ministry's website.

The China Development Bank (CDB), as a commercial creditor, has signed agreements with the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries (DSSI) beneficiaries involving $748 million by the end of September, Liu said.

Liu's remarks came ahead of the 15th G20 Leaders' Summit that is scheduled to be held on the weekend, which will be the first time in G20's history that countries have jointly participated in multilateral debt treatments.

China took the lead in calling for and supporting the extension of the DSSI, Liu said. At the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 held in June, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated, "China will work with other members of the G20 to implement the DSSI, and, on that basis, urge the G20 to extend debt service suspension further still for countries concerned, including those in Africa."

The statement plays an important role in leading all parties toward a consensus on the DSSI extension, Liu said.

"China will stay in close communication and coordination with other parties within G20 over the issue of debt vulnerabilities in the poorest countries, and we will continue to participate, in an active manner, in the multilateral debt coordination process," Liu stressed.

He said the ministry will encourage the CDB and other Chinese commercial creditors to participate in the DSSI on comparable terms, while assisting the poorest countries in combining their efforts to address debt challenges with their efforts to restore economic and social development.

Liu said that China will provide assistance to developing countries for their efforts in fighting against the pandemic and achieve economic and social recovery and development through bilateral and multilateral channels, including providing $2 billion of international assistance over two years.

"We will prioritize providing in various ways developing countries with a vaccine against COVID-19 when it becomes available," he said.

Liu called on the World Bank to take part in debt treatments and explore various options to provide more support to the poorest countries in alleviating their debt burden. "If the World Bank takes part in debt treatment through setting up a multilateral debt relief facility, China will positively consider contributing to the facility as such to help ease the debt burden on the poorest countries," he said.

Global Times