Debt Trap Diplomacy of China
China got its freedom 2 years later that India but still it has managed to become a superpower country in no time. How? This question has several answers but we will stick to the topic itself which is the debt-trap diplomacy. If you do not know this concept then you must read this article as here you will understand everything about it and how China is using it for exploiting other countries.
Debt trap diplomacy is diplomacy based on debt carried out in the bilateral relations between countries with a negative intention. Their motive is to keep extending credits to the debtor country and when they are unable to honour the debt then demand political or economic concessions.
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Countries Affected Through Debt Trap Diplomacy
This trick is prominently used by the Chinese for years now sand through this they have acquired the alignment of various countries on key strategic and military issues. Given below are the countries were tricked by the Chinese Government.
- Kenya – Kenya had borrowed huge loans for constructing a standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi along with various highways in Kenya. The loans are estimated to be over US$6.5 billion as per reports of 2020. Not only this, Kenya had borrowed loans before from China for building its biggest port which is the Port of Mombasa but due to economic problems in 2018, it was expected that China would get control over it. The Kenyan Government have been analysing ways of getting out of this trap of China after watching the Sri Lankan port debt.
- South Africa – China as they have lent over 4% of the total GDP of South Africa. South Africa has borrowed several loans for various purposes out of which most are provided by some private and some government organisation of China. The Chinese Development Bank and Huarong Energy have lent a total of US$2.5 billion each to a state-owned South African electrical utility name Eskom. However, due to corruption charges emerging frequently in the process of disusing of loans, Eskom has would not be paying back the loan. The South African Government also accepted another loan from China of US$25.8 billion for promoting the 2018 economic stimulus package. South African Government termed it as a gift although no details of this loan were made publicly available arising various controversies.
- Rest of Africa
- Nigeria – Nigeria has been the worst sufferers of corruption since its independence. They have lost almost US$400 billion due to corruption. Currently, US$3.1 billion of the total US$27.6 billion foreign debt is owned by China individually. This has led several questions on the transparency and credibility of the Nigerian Government.
- Zambia – Zambia has a total of US$8.7 billion foreign debts out of which US$7.4 billion is owned by China individually. Zambia is a small country and so repaying such a huge debt is tough. So Zambian government are continuously negotiating with China and are in talks if they can surrender the state electricity company ZESCO as a repayment of the debt.
- Djibouti – Djibouti has bought 77% of its total foreign debt from the Chinese for developing a strategic port. However, according to economic reports of past years, the possibility of repaying the loans on the time is less.
- Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka is currently one of the most affected victims of China's debt-trap diplomacy. Sri Lanka bought the loan from the Exim Bank of China and Export-Import Bank of China for building the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport. The construction of the port was completed years ago but due to some reasons, Sri Lanka couldn't use it as much as they calculated. So the Sri Lankan Government could not honour the loans. This led to various pressure induced by Chinese Banks on Sri Lanka on which they decided to lease it to a Chinese state-owned company named China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited for 99 years. This lease was a loss for not only Sri Lanka but also America and India as China might use it as a naval base. This will enrage the geopolitical rivalry between China and countries like India and America.
- Indonesia – Indonesia has old financial relations with China. They have been borrowing loans from China for almost 20 years now. 2003 Suramadu Bridge, 2007 Indramayu West Java power plant, 2011 Sumatra coal railway, 2015 Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project are some of the primary projects which were financed by China. The most recent project between Indonesia and China was US$91.1 billion for 28 national projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Malaysia – Malaysia has been one of the largest debtors of China. According to reports of 2017, China and Malaysia pledged to expand their bilateral trade to around US$160 billion which is a pretty big figure for such a small country. In 2018, PM Mahathir Mohamad scrapped the deal of US$2.795 billion with China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau stating that they might not be able to repay it. He also busted the Exim Bank of China charging it for the scam of 1MDB scandal.
China has been exploiting other countries and trying to take over that country. Their motive is to conquer the entire world for which they are willing to cross all the limits. We have to stop them in this process and by stopping I mean we must restrict our money to enter in their pocket. They think we are depended on them which is slightly true. However, we can change this fact. We have to show them that boycotting Chinese goods is not just a concept but it is practically possible. Growing as big as China is not impossible. In fact, we even have ideas coming free of cost from China for that. The only thing we need to do here is to find ways to utilise those ideas.