China suspends debt repayment for 77 developing nations, regions

Jun 7, 2020

China has announced the suspension of debt repayment for 77 developing countries and regions as the nation is working with other G20 members to carry out the G20 debt relief initiative for low-income countries, Chinese officials said at a press briefing at the State Council Information Office on Sunday.

The move shows that China is actively assuming its global responsibility as the economies of many developing countries have been battered by the fallout of the pandemic. As some Western nations have been smearing China to deflect their missteps in handling the coronavirus, the debt relief will also help other countries to understand China’s position in a more fair and objective manner.

China announced in May that it would provide $2 billion over two years to help other countries respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ma Zhaoxu, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the fund will not only include medical supplies, but also support other countries to restart their economies. Ma made the comment at the press briefing to release the Chinese government’s White Paper of “Fighting COVID-19 China in Action.”

The fund includes both bilateral aid and multilateral donations, according to Ma.

China is negotiating bilateral aid with recipient countries in need in an equal manner to identify assisting projects to help developing nations improve public health standards, improve their livelihoods and resume their economies, Ma said.

China has made multilateral donations to the World Health Organization (WHO) of $50 million, and has provided assistance to global organizations including the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. China also actively assisted in the fundraising event organized by the Solidarity Response Fund of the WHO in China.

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Ma also revealed at the press briefing that China’s cooperation mechanism with 30 African hospitals is currently in the process of being set up.

Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University’s Center for Economic Diplomacy, told the Global Times on Sunday that China’s decision is a good example of building a community of shared future for the world, a concept proposed by Chinese leadership.

“This is what China could do according to our ability,” Song said. He noted that as a next step, if China’s economy bounces back quickly, Beijing may consider waiving some debts of certain developing nations.

The white paper released on Sunday shows a record of China’s efforts in its own painstaking fight against the coronavirus, explains its experience with the rest of the world, and clarifies ideas on how to combat the virus globally.