China to work with international organizations, other creditors to help resolve Sri Lanka’s debt problems: Foreign Ministry
Published: Oct 10, 2023 06:30 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

China will continue to support its financial institutions in actively negotiating with relevant parties, and is willing to work together with relevant countries and international organizations to assist Sri Lanka in addressing its difficulties, easing its debt burden and achieving sustainable development, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday.

Responding to media questions regarding the help China has provided for Sri Lanka's debt restructuring and the progress of the debt resolution work, Wang said: "As a friendly neighbor and sincere friend, China closely follows the difficulties and challenges Sri Lanka faces and has been providing assistance within its capacity for Sri Lanka's economic and social development."

From last year, Chinese financial institutions have maintained close communication with relevant parties on Sri Lanka debt, actively engaged in bilateral negotiations, timely provided financing support to Sri Lanka, and helped Sri Lanka secure loans from the International Monetary Fund.

Chinese financial institutions, as observers, have participated in the creditors meetings, maintained friendly communication with other creditors, and shared progress on debt resolution.

In late September, the Export-Import Bank of China, as an official creditor, reached a preliminary agreement with Sri Lanka on the disposal of Chinese debt.

Wang said: "We are pleased to see that other creditors are now discussing debt resolution plans for Sri Lanka," while highlighting China's stance in providing support to its domestic financial institutions in negotiating with relevant parties over the matter.

"We also call on multilateral institutions and commercial creditors to participate jointly in Sri Lanka's debt restructuring and share responsibilities fairly," the spokesperson said.

China and Sri Lanka have long maintained a close relationship of mutual support and understanding, regardless of how the international situation changes.

However, since Sri Lanka fell into an economic crisis, some Western forces have been seeking to undercut China-Sri Lanka bilateral ties with the "debt trap" and other narratives.

Speaking to the Global Times in an previous interview, Ali Sabry, Sri Lanka's foreign minister said: "I think some media outlets use it to advance their agendas...Chinese investment was and has been very important to us. Sri Lanka had been depressed for 26 years. No investment was forthcoming. Everybody was adopting an empty approach, but the Chinese investment came and propelled the growth in Sri Lanka. Therefore, we are very grateful for that."

Regarding the country's economic problems, Sabry said there were multiple factors including bad policies, the pandemic and global geopolitical tensions.

"We are not going to blame somebody else for that and we need to take ownership of that. We had serious policy deficiencies. We are now addressing those issues, overcoming them, and getting back to a sustainable way forward," Sabry said.

Global Times