Pompeo accuses China of ’empty promises’ to Africa on coronavirus aid

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized China’s economic policies on aiding African nations during the coronavirus, saying they create patterns of “unsustainable debt.”

“It’s no secret the PRC is by far the largest bilateral creditor to African governments, creating an unsustainable debt burden,” Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday.

During the China-Africa summit last week Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China would continue to work and support countries hardest hit by the coronavirus by providing “interest-free government loans”  and by “extending the period of debt suspension” for certain African nations.

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“Most U.S. foreign assistance, by contrast, comes in the form of grants rather than loans, in order to promote transparent, private sector-led economic growth that benefits all parties,” Pompeo said Wednesday.

Pompeo referred to China’s aid relief announcement as “empty promises and tired platitudes,” adding that China should implement the Group of 20’s (G-20) Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) in order to ensure transparent coronavirus aid.

The DSSI was created by the G-20, an international financial forum of governments, and in collaboration with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to provide financial aid to eligible nations reeling from the coronavirus.

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The initiative temporarily suspends loan repayments for 77 developing nations struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, until the end of 2020.

“The CCP [Communist Party of China] needs to move beyond vague public statements and start to fully and transparently implement the DSSI in accordance with its G20 commitments.”

Xi committed to participating in the G-20’s DSSI and said he encourages “Chinese financial institutions … to hold friendly consultations with African countries according to market principles to work out arrangements for commercial loans with sovereign guarantees.”

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Pompeo, who has been critical of China as of late, referred to the Chinese president’s words as “misleading propaganda.”

U.S.-China relations have become increasingly strained over the coronavirus pandemic, the race to 5G, China’s security extensions in Hong Kong and over international security issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.



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