onsdag 9. juni 2021

Australia takes a brave swipe at China over its controversial Belt and Road plan

China's controversial Belt and Road initiative has come under fire from Scott Morrison as he pushes the West to help developing nations build key infrastructure so they aren't forced to rely on funding from Beijing. In a speech in Perth ahead of the G7 summit, the Prime Minister will warn developing nations to be wary of projects that compromise their 'resilience or sovereignty' and leave them vulnerable to 'debt diplomacy' when a lender saddles a borrower with debt to gain leverage.

Mr Morrison will call on institutions including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to be more generous and provide attractive alternatives to China's scheme, which is building projects in dozens of countries around the world.The Belt and Road Initiative, set up by President Xi Jinping in 2013, rang alarm bells in the West when Sri Lanka leased its new Hambantota port - which was mostly funded by Beijing - to a Chinese company for 99 years to help pay off its debts to international lenders. Beijing's critics accuse it of deliberately indebting developing countries to expand its influence and project its power in a type of modern-day colonialism, accusations China denies.

A report by the Centre for Global Development in 2018 found eight countries that had signed deals with China were at 'high risk' debt distress. They were Djibouti, where China has its only overseas military base, The Maldives, Laos, Montenegro, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.