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US cites Pak's $10bn debt to slam China's 'predatory economics'

WASHINGTON: Pakistan owes its "all-weather friend" China a minimum of $10 billion debt for the development of the Gwadar port and other initiatives, the highest US basic has mentioned, as he underlined Beijing's "predatory economics" to increase its global influence.

The strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan province on the Arabian Sea is being constructed through China under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and is thought of as to be a hyperlink between Beijing's bold One Belt, One Road (OBOR) and Maritime Silk Road initiatives.

"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, told a Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The Maldives owes China roughly $1.5 billion in debt - about 30 in line with cent of its GDP - for building prices, he mentioned.

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

"China is diligently building an international network of coercion through predatory economics to expand its sphere of influence," he mentioned, adding that countries around the globe are finding the onerous manner that China's financial "friendship" by means of OBOR can come at "a steep cost" when guarantees of investment go unfulfilled and global requirements and safeguards are unnoticed.

In Africa, Djibouti owes China over 80 in line with cent of its GDP and in 2017, the country become host to China's first in a foreign country military base. In Latin America, Ecuador agreed to sell 80 to 90 in line with cent of its exportable crude oil to China thru 2024 in change for $6.5 billion in Chinese loans, he mentioned.

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

Dunford warned that if China's predatory debt techniques are left unaddressed, they'll have serious implications on the USA's military.

Alleging that China is extending its achieve through expanding its overt military and coercive activities thru its neighbours, Dunford mentioned China's increasingly provocative behaviour in the Indo-Pacific, specifically the South China Sea (SCS), will have to worry all.

Between 2013 and 2018, China higher its air and sea incursions into the SCS twelve-fold. Within those 5 years, it additionally higher deployments of offensive and defensive weapons systems to the SCS through the similar order of magnitude, he mentioned.

China's land reclamation and militarisation some distance exceed that of alternative claimants combined in the South China Sea, he mentioned.

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

Citing an instance, he mentioned Chinese military vessels came dangerously just about the USS Decatur, a destroyer of the USA 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 mentioned.

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