China is not the source of African countries' "debt trap," but a partner to help them and other developing countries to escape the "poverty trap," a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said on April 10.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks in response to accusations levelled against China by some senior U.S. officials and World Bank officials regarding Africa's debt issue.
"Those accusations have no factual basis," Wang said. "China attaches great importance to Africa's debt issue and helps African countries to cope with it. China has contributed more to the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) than any other Group of 20 (G20) members."
According to the latest research by the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, China has contributed 63 percent of the debt service suspensions under the DSSI. The research found that China has been active in communicating with other participating parties, and has performed its duties in effectively implementing the DSSI, the spokesperson said.
Wang quoted Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as describing Western governments' concern over the so-called "China debt trap" as an overreaction.
According to him, African nations are rightly unapologetic about their close ties to China. Africa needs the loans and infrastructure. China shows up where and when the West will not or are reluctant.
China has always been committed to providing support for the economic and social development of developing countries, including African countries, Wang said.
It has carried out investment and financing cooperation with other developing countries based on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, and has always done its best to help them reduce debt burdens, he added.
He said some politicians in the United States and other Western countries use various narrative traps to disrupt and undermine the cooperation between China and other developing countries.
"Their gimmicks have been debunked and they now find it more difficult to get audience in developing countries and the larger international community," Wang said.
According to the World Bank's International Debt Statistics, multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors hold nearly three-quarters of Africa's total external debt. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) account for nearly 70 percent of the total debt held by multilateral financial institutions, the spokesperson added.
Wang said that the United States is the largest shareholder of the World Bank and the IMF, and the financial capital from the United States and Europe is the largest commercial creditor of African countries.
Therefore, he said, the United States is duty-bound to participate in Africa's debt relief.
"We urge the United States to shoulder its responsibilities, and make greater efforts to advance the substantive participation of multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors in dealing with Africa's debt issue," he said.