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Belt and Road Continues To Make Progress, CPPCC Spokesman Says

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EIRNS—Speaking at a press conference before the opening of the Two Sessions on March 4, Guo Weimin, the spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) replied to a Japanese reporter’s question on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the lie about a possible “debt trap.” Guo replied that the BRI follows the strictest principles on building financially sustainable projects. He remarked first that the international appeal of the BRI is on the rise throughout the world. Secondly, China is deepening cooperation on the BRI: He pointed to the Piraeus Port in Greece and the China-Laos Railroad. “At the same time, some small and beautiful agriculture, medical care, poverty alleviation and other livelihood projects have been implemented in countries along the route,” Guo said. Thirdly, he said, cultural exchanges also increase through the BRI.

With regard to the financial arrangements, Guo said, “China has always followed international practices and the principle of sustainable debt, and promoted the establishment of long-term stability and a sustainable and risk-controllable investment and financing system. China always adheres to the orientation of economic and social benefits, and provides loans for project construction according to the actual situation of the country where the project is located, so as to avoid new debt burdens, new debt risks and financial burden.” He cited China’s “Guiding Principles for Financing the Belt and Road Initiative” which Beijing published and made available to BRI countries.

Guo Weimin also reported that China has released the “Belt and Road’ Debt Sustainability Analysis Framework,” which is a technical document to help co-construction countries improve their debt management capabilities. It should be emphasized that the construction of the Belt and Road mainly involves infrastructure and production fields, which have brought effective investment to the co-construction country, increased high-quality assets, and promoted local economic growth and improvement of people’s livelihood. Guo called all the talk of a BRI “debt trap” so much “noise” which has not been able to stop its progress. [wcj]