China asks US not to ‘jab fingers at its close cooperation with Sri Lanka’

China asks US not to ‘jab fingers at its close cooperation with Sri Lanka’

February 3, 2023   12:21 pm

China has hit back at the remarks made by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland that the terms extended by China to Sri Lanka to unlock IMF debt relief remain insufficient.

In response to a question raised at a regular press conference on Thursday (Feb. 02), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said the US Under Secretary’s comments do not reflect the truth.

During her recent official visit to Sri Lanka, Nuland told reporters in Colombo that China’s offer on their financial assurances for Sri Lanka is not enough, adding that the IMF needs to see credible and specific assurance that matches the global lender’s standard on debt restructuring prior to moving forward with an agreement.

Sri Lanka is currently awaiting board approval from the IMF pertaining to the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of USD 2.9 billion.

Speaking further during the press conference, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson went on to note that the Export-Import Bank of China has already provided Sri Lanka with a letter to express support for its debt sustainability. “Sri Lanka has responded positively and thanked China for that.”

She called on the United States to “show some sincerity and actually do something to help Sri Lanka weather through the current difficulties” rather than “jabbing fingers at China’s close cooperation with Sri Lanka.”

As a friendly neighbour and true friend, China has been closely following the difficulties and challenges facing Sri Lanka and providing assistance for the island’s economic and social development to the best of China’s capabilities, Mao continued.

In response to a question on any ongoing conversation or talk between China and the IMF where the global lender has confirmed that China’s assurances are credible and enough for the Fund to disburse the debt relief financial support, the spokesperson said China supports it financial institutions in having consultations with Sri Lanka to seek a proper settlement to its China-related debt issue.

“We also stand ready to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to play a positive role in easing Sri Lanka’s debt burden.”

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