Beijing: China continues to be ambivalent and silent about its stand on loans to Sri Lanka as it is set for talks with the IMF for debt restructuring of several recipient countries of Chinese finances which are defaulting on their external debt.
Sri Lanka, which is trying hard to secure a USD 2.9 billion bridge loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is also looking at financial assurances from its big creditors — China, Japan and India — which is necessary for Colombo to get the loan.
According to recent reports, IMF strategy chief Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China and meet senior officials on debt restructuring of some of the countries facing financial difficulties.
Sri Lanka, which went bankrupt earlier this year, had announced a default on over USD 51 billion in foreign loans, including that of China.
India has rushed about USD 4 billion in assistance in the form of line credit and other modes to help Lanka which has virtually declared insolvency and defaulted on all foreign loans.
China has also announced assistance of 500 million RMB (about USD 74 million) for the supply of essential goods, but it remained silent about former Lanka president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request to defer the loan repayment.
Asked about its stand during talks with the IMF to restructure Chinese loans to Sri Lanka, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning reiterated Beijing’s stand that it supports financial institutions to solve Colombo’s financial crisis.
“On Sri Lanka’s debt issue, I would like to stress that China attaches high importance to Sri Lanka’s difficulties and challenges,” she told a media briefing here on Monday.
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“We support the financial institutions in working out ways with Sri Lanka to properly solve the issue. We also hope relevant countries and international financial institutions will work with China and continue to play a constructive role in helping Sri Lanka overcome the current difficulties, ease its debt burden and realise sustainable development,” she said.
Mao, however, declined to provide official data on Chinese loans to Sri Lanka, saying that she has no information on the issue.
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