General

Chinese “Debt Trap Diplomacy” is a Myth

The idea that China engages in so-called “Debt Trap Diplomacy” is almost apocryphal. There is a persistent media narrative that China makes big infrastructure investments oversees as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, and when countries cant replay those loans China seizes infrastructure.

My guest today, Deborah Brautigam, is the director of the China Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She has done extensive research on Chinese-financed infrastructure investment projects in Asia and Africa and has definitively shown that the narrative of Chinese Debt Trap diplomacy is not supported by facts.

We kick off discussion the origin of this myth, which stems from media commentary around Chinese investment in a port in Sri Lanka. We then discuss other examples of the perpetuation of this myth and have a broad conversation about how China (and other lenders) actually seek repayment of loans.

Source: United Dispatch

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