Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the U.S., insisted Monday that Beijing’s investments in African countries are not a form of so-called “debt-trap diplomacy” in which China invests in developing countries for its own geopolitical aims.
“China’s investment and financing assistance to Africa is not a trap, it’s a benefit,” Qin said during the Semafor Africa Summit in Washington, D.C. “There is no such trap. It’s not a plot, it’s transparent, it’s sincere, it’s obvious.”
Qin also told Semafor’s Steve Clemons that China has delivered on pledges to invest in combating climate change in developing countries, while jabbing at the U.S. by suggesting it has not lived up to its own commitments.
“As far as China is concerned, we not only talk but also we walk the talk, we walk the walk,” he said.
China has faced accusations that it lends to poorer, developing countries and deliberately ensnares them in “debt traps” to gain leverage.
Critics have pointed to Sri Lanka as an example. China extended billions in loans to the country’s government for infrastructure projects and effectively gained control of the port in Hambantota “half a decade ago after Sri Lankan authorities recognized they could no longer pay off the loans,” columnist Ishaan Tharoor wrote in the Washington Post earlier this year.