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Pakistan owes $10 billion debt to China for Gwadar port, other projects: Top US general

WASHINGTON: Pakistan owes its "all-weather friend" China at least $10 billion debt for the development of the Gwadar port and other projects, the highest US general has stated, as he underlined Beijing's "predatory economics" to amplify its global influence.

The strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan province on the Arabian Sea is being constructed by way of China below the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and is considered to be a hyperlink between Beijing's formidable One Belt, One Road (OBOR) and Maritime Silk Road projects.

"Let us look at just a few examples. Saddled with predatory Chinese loans, Sri Lanka granted China a 99-year lease and 70 per cent stake in its deep-water port," General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed a Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The Maldives owes China more or less $1.5 billion in debt - about 30 per cent of its GDP - for development costs, he stated.

"Pakistan owes China at least $10 billion in debt for the construction of Gwadar Port and other projects," Dunford stated.

"China is diligently building an international network of coercion through predatory economics to expand its sphere of influence," he stated, including that countries world wide are discovering the arduous means that China's economic "friendship" by way of OBOR can come at "a steep cost" when promises of funding pass unfulfilled and international requirements and safeguards are disregarded.

In Africa, Djibouti owes China over 80 per cent of its GDP and in 2017, the country turned into host to China's first overseas military base. In Latin America, Ecuador agreed to promote 80 to 90 per cent of its exportable crude oil to China through 2024 in trade for $6.5 billion in Chinese loans, he stated.

And after leasing land tax-free to China for 50 years, Argentina is denied get entry to and oversight to a Chinese satellite tv for pc tracking station on its sovereign territory, unwittingly allowing the facility's use for military functions, america general stated.

Dunford warned that if China's predatory debt tactics are left unaddressed, they are going to have severe implications on america's military.

Alleging that China is extending its reach by way of increasing its overt military and coercive actions through its neighbours, Dunford stated China's increasingly provocative behaviour in the Indo-Pacific, in particular the South China Sea (SCS), should worry all.

Between 2013 and 2018, China higher its air and sea incursions into the SCS twelve-fold. Within those five years, it additionally higher deployments of offensive and defensive weapons programs to the SCS by way of the same order of magnitude, he stated.

China's land reclamation and militarisation a ways exceed that of different claimants blended in the South China Sea, he stated.

Between 2013 and 2015 alone, China created greater than 3,200 acres in the SCS, building options within its self-proclaimed '9 dash line' - a claim the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague dominated in 2016 has no criminal foundation, Dunford informed the lawmakers.

Dunford additionally accused China of interfering in the freedom of navigation.

"China habitually threatens this freedom, using both conventional military force projection and 'gray zone' or irregular warfare activities," he stated.

Citing an instance, he stated Chinese military vessels got here dangerously close to the USS Decatur, a destroyer of america Navy, off the coast of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

"China's force projection inside and outside the SCS disrespects and undermines our rules-based international order and threatens regional stability and security," Dunford stated.

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