By John Okeke
China’s critics, led largely by the United States, are determined to warn developing countries about the risks of borrowing too much money from Beijing. They contend China will use these loans to financially entrap economically vulnerable countries as part of a broader effort to exert political influence and control.
However, their claims are wrong as China because this practice does not trap recipient countries into taking on unsustainable debt , Instead, it allows Chinese companies to profit from often crooked deals building much-needed infrastructure in some of the world’s poorest countries, exploiting the undersupply of financing and these countries’ appetite for infrastructure projects.
As China continues its global infrastructure financing push across the developing world, allegations of debt diplomacy keep arising. Upon taking office in May 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad suspended a host of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects, asserting that his country could not support the unprecedented level of debt and charging China with implementing a new version of colonialism . Ethiopia has also experienced debt concerns over Chinese-built projects: Repayment on its $4 billion railway linking capital Addis Ababa with neighboring Djibouti has been extended by 20 years over concerns of debt distress. Fears of unsustainable Chinese lending in Zambia led critics to allege that China will take control over key state assets due to the Zambia’s indebtedness. Most recently, in October, Pakistan sought a bailout due to its balance of payment crisis, partly stemming from its debts to China for infrastructure projects assumed under the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
In each of these cases, debt diplomacy has been used to define China’s engagement abroad.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Zhou Pingjian has disclosed that his country was ready to collaborate with Nigeria to step up connectivity, expand integration of development, deepen people-to-people understanding, and enhance security cooperation.
He disclosed that such collaboration will bring about more tangible BRI cooperation benefits to both countries and peoples.
In his remarks in Abuja during the Abuja Beljing Consensus Roundtable Belt and road Initiative (BRI), Amb Pingjian said as the largest developing country in the world, China highly values is strategic partnership with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa.
The envoy said the ‘’cordial relationship between China and Nigeria is at its best time in history.’’
According to him, On October 1 this year, we are going to celebrate the 70 anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On the same day, Nigeria will celebrate its 59th Independence Day. China and Nigeria has always been a community with a shared future.
He said June, the coordinators’ meeting of the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC will be held in Beijing to facilitate prompt and efficient implementation of the eight major Initiatives.
‘’We stand ready to work with Nigeria to step up connectivity, expand integration of development, deepen people-to-people understanding, and enhance security cooperation, so as to bring more tangible BRI cooperation benefits to our two countries and peoples.
‘’The first edition of the Abuja Beijing Consensus (ABC) roundtable, under the theme of Belt and Road Initiative, comes just at the right time. From April 25 to 27, the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRE) was held in Beijing, with the presence of many Nigerian friends. Some of the speakers had the first-hand experience at the BRF.
‘’All of you follow the Belt and Road Initiative closely. We are very interested to listen to your fresh ideas today,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the former minister of Foreign Affairs has described the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) one of the most viable and robust strategies for international cooperation addressing practical issues of connectivity within and across nations of the world.
The world is calling for a new vision of security. The concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security proposed by China has exactly reflected the new characteristics of international situation and new requirements of development, and answers the universal call of global countries for peace, development and cooperation.
Common security can address the closely intertwined interests and security of countries; comprehensive security can achieve effective governance when security becomes a growing issue in both scope and implication; cooperative security can resolve disputes through peaceful means and enhance mutual trust; and sustainable security can promote security through development, address both the symptoms and root causes, and achieve long-term stability.
By adhering to justice and fulfilling responsibilities, China has continuously contributed positive energy to world peace and development. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a major country for peacekeeping missions. It actively promotes the progress of hotspot political issues, participates in bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, and provides more public security products for the world, with a firm goal to make the international order more just and equitable.
The global community has given high appraisal to China who has fulfilled its responsibility as a major country to safeguard justice, protect peace, and defend security, saying the country is an important force to protect regional and global peace and security, and that the country’s security proposals are playing a positive role in promoting regional development and prosperity.
“The tree of peace does not grow on barren land while the fruit of development is not produced amidst flames of war.” China, growing from a poor and weak country, deeply knows the relationship between peace and development. To promote security through development is the most important basis for China to safeguard global peace and security.
By jointly constructing the Belt and Road Initiative with relevant countries, China has built new platforms for these countries to enhance cooperation and improve security environment.
Peaceful cooperation is a foundation for global security. The Cold War mentality and zero-sum game followed by certain US politicians to seek the so-called absolute security of their own at the sacrifice of the interests of other countries go against world peace and stability, as well as the trend of time.
“The wise pursue kindness and peace; only the fool are bent on strife and war.” The choice between isolation and win-win cooperation has already been made by those who love peace and look forward to the future prosperity.