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BRI issues can be resolved- China think tank

By Bernama - November 21, 2018 @ 9:50am

BEIJING: Some China companies do not carry out their social responsibility in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes where they operate, according to Fu Dagang, Deputy Director General and Researcher of China Centre for Contemporary World Studies.

During his visit to these host countries, members of think tanks there raised the issue that some of them did not create enough job opportunities, he said.

Fu, whose organisation is a government think tank based in Beijing, said another issue was the problem of coordination, as China’s laws and regulations differed from those of the host countries.

“I am not going to conceal some problems of this initiative. We should being open-minded in solving these problems.

“As long as we uphold the principle of seeking common development through discussion and cooperation, these problems will eventually be solved,” he told media representatives who participated in an Asian media workshop on BRI organised by People’s Daily, Tsinghua University and the International Department of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee.

More than 20 media representatives from 13 countries attended the workshop that took place from Nov 4 to 8. The 40-hour workshop comprised in-class lectures held at PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University, as well as visits to several institutions.

Fu said he visited some host countries in 2017 and this year, where he exchanged views with members from think tanks and the media.

While most of the mainstream media were very positive on BRI, he said some media did not know about China very well, which resulted in reports and coverage that were not fair.

“Therefore, I believe we (the Chinese government) should have more in-depth communications with the media. The BRI has only been implemented for five years. We are still in the phase of discovery and exploration,” he added.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the BRI aims to create a web of infrastructure to enhance economic interconnectivity and facilitate development across Eurasia, East Africa and various partner countries.

As of the first half of 2018, about 90 countries and international organisations have signed BRI agreements with the Chinese government.

Regarding reports that Sri Lanka fell into a debt crisis due to loans obtained from China, Fu said based on his own research, Sri Lanka’s external debt was about US$50 billion, of which loans from China only amounted to 10 per cent.

He said investments from the United States and western countries accounted for 39 per cent of the total external debt, while loans owed to the Asian Development Bank and Japan made up 14 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.

“So I believe reports about the debt crisis being caused by China is incorrect,” he added.


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