CHINA Chinese FM slams US officials claim about China-Sri Lanka cooperation

CHINA

Chinese FM slams US officials claim about China-Sri Lanka cooperation

Global Times

22:46, July 28, 2022

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian Photo: fmprc.gov.cn

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian (Photo: fmprc.gov.cn)

The practical cooperation between China and Sri Lanka has all along boosted Sri Lanka's economic development and brought tangible benefits to the Sri Lankan people, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, responding to US official's smearing China-Sri Lanka cooperation.

"We hope that the US will sincerely help Sri Lanka cope with the current difficulties and achieve sustainable development. It is hoped that the US will not use every opportunity to blame, smear other countries and engage in geopolitical games without any bottom line," Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson, said during a regular press briefing.

Zhao was asked to comment on remarks made by Samantha Power, administrator for the US Agency for International Development, on Wednesday regarding Sri Lanka's debt.

Power contrasted India's "critical" measures to aid Sri Lanka during its worst economic crisis with the two decades during which China offered "opaque loan deals at higher interest rates than other lenders" and financed infrastructure projects that often served little practical use, according to a report by the Associated Press.

"The US has been implementing quantitative easing policies for a long time, and recently raised interest rates abruptly, causing shocks to the global economy and financial markets. The imposition of tariff barriers by the US has exacerbated the soaring prices of energy, food and other commodities, and aggravated the economic and financial situation of Sri Lanka and other developing countries," said Zhao.

Zhao noted that the US should ask itself what it is doing for the sustainable development of developing countries like Sri Lanka and how much harm its unilateralist economic, financial and foreign policies have done to countries around the world.

Zhao further said that China-Sri Lanka cooperation has never attached any political conditions, and has boosted Sri Lanka's economic development and delivered tangible benefits to the Sri Lankan people. The composition of Sri Lanka's external debt is diversified, and the proportion of China-related debt is much lower than that of the international capital market and multilateral development banks.

Moreover, most of the loans that China has provided to Sri Lanka are of concessional nature with low interest rate and long maturity, which have played a positive role in improving infrastructure and people's livelihoods in Sri Lanka. Immediately after the Sri Lankan government announced the suspension of foreign debt repayments, Chinese financial institutions took the initiative to consult with the Sri Lankan side and showed a positive attitude on properly handling the maturing China-related debts and helping Sri Lanka cope with the current difficulties, said Zhao.

The spokesperson also pointed out that the US and Western capital have engaged in speculation in the Sri Lankan market and manipulated the credit rating of Sri Lanka, which has seriously suppressed Sri Lanka's credit reputation and financing channels.

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