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  • Writer's pictureInfrastructure Exchange

Belt and Road report 'irresponsible'

Chinese media have said that a recent report by the Financial Times regarding transparency and other issues with the Belt and Road initiative are, according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "inaccurate" and "irresponsible."

Hua Chunying, speaking on behalf of the ministry, cited many successful projects in rebuttal. She mentioned a port in Greece, a railway Kenya and a textile factory in Tajikistan. Hua further stressed that projects are conducted under fair, open and transparent principles.

"In recent years, a large number of cooperation projects under the Belt and Road initiative have taken root and blossomed, bring about $2.2 billion in tax revenues for partner countries, creating more than 200,000 jobs and being truly welcomed by the governments and people of relevant countries," Hua said.

According to the report in the Financial Times [9 July 2018] 14% of 1,674 infrastructure projects across 66 countries have encountered troubles such as public opposition to projects, objections over labour policies and performance delays. The Times cited US consultancy RWR Advisory Group.

It was also reported that Mikko Huotari, deputy director of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, believes that Belt and Road projects show "... a relative disregard for local conditions, country risks and… a general lack of transparency."

While the Ministry has acknowledged that some of the projects has run into "temporary difficulties," they said further that "if one asserts, just because of that, that Belt and Road projects are encountering difficulties on a global scale and blame it on Chinese investment and financing cooperation, then that is typical of partiality, not in line with the facts and the mainstream and is very irresponsible," she said.

Some of the difficulties were said to be due to trade protectionism and "spillover effects of monetary policies in major economies, along with political changes and natural disasters in some countries."

"The governments and people of partner countries have the right to speak about how effective it is to cooperate with China," Hua said, pointing out that

China and 26 other countries have signed a guiding principle for fundraising under the Belt and Road initiative, aiming to create a "transparent, friendly, non-discriminate" financing environment.

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