West Asia and North Africa region need to be prudent with Chinese debt-trap loans


West Asia and North African regions need to tread cautiously when lending Chinese contracts as by expanding its regional footprints, China is pursuing its policy of gradually laying down the debt trap and turning these regions into its economic colonies, media reports said.

Chinese loans are dubious in nature as many of them also have political clauses attached to them. By utilizing its technical expertise, China is becoming a key technology provider in several of these countries, reported Global Strat View.

WANA nations are keen to collaborate with China in infrastructure, weapons procurement, oil exploration, space research, and sustainable development. Notably, the popularity of Chinese language studies also appeared to have increased in WANA countries.

There are multiple developments in the recent past that suggest that there is enhanced cooperation between China and WANA countries.

On September 19, foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New York. The meeting occurred on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly, reported Global Strat View.

Bilateral cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing appears to be on the upswing. Saudi Arabia is set to host the first China-Arab Summit in December 2022. Power Construction Corporation of China, China Power International Holdings Company, and Shanghai Electric are in line to bid for the Amiral Cogeneration Power Project in Jubail.

Meanwhile, the implementation of a systematic plan to teach the Chinese language to Saudi learners is also under discussion. Beijing offers similar courses and workshops in Chinese language, culture, and traditional Chinese medicine through Talal Abu Ghazaleh Confucius Institute in Jordan.

Similarly in Qatar, Chinese state-owned military equipment import and export company M/s China Vanguard Industry Corporation (CVIC) is assisting Qatar Armed Forces in the implementation of ‘Project 1401.’

Under this project, it would supply Qatar with missiles, auxiliary equipment, spare parts, and technical training at the cost of about USD 700 million.

More-over in Kuwait, CVIC has expressed willingness to participate in the bidding for missile installation on Kuwait Navy’s under-construction missile boats. All of these agreements and discussions are undertaken at a time when there is evidence from the past that how Chinese loans can push financially weaker countries into an economic abyss. Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the latest examples.

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