China is using “debt diplomacy” to expand its global influence, US Vice President Mike Pence alleged, citing example of a Sri Lankan port which he said could soon become a forward military base for Beijing’s growing blue-water navy.
Pence said China was offering hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to governments from Asia to Africa to Europe to even Latin America. Yet the terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the benefits flow overwhelmingly to Beijing,” Pence said on Thursday.
“China uses so-called ‘debt diplomacy’ to expand its influence,” Pence alleged in a major foreign policy speech at the Hudson Institute, a top American think-tank. “Just ask Sri Lanka, which took on massive debt to let Chinese state companies build a port with questionable commercial value. Two years ago, that country could no longer afford its payments – so Beijing pressured Sri Lanka to deliver the new port directly into Chinese hands. It may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy,” Pence said.