China envoy brush aside "ridiculous "loan claims by Tillerson

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Mr Zhao Linxiang, the Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the  Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, on Friday in Abuja said the U.S. position on Chinese loans to Africa “is ridiculous”.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had said on Thursday that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China.

Tillerson, who was on his first diplomatic trip to the continent, also said Chinese investments “do not bring significant job creation locally”.

He then criticised how Beijing structured loans to African governments.

During the December 2015 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping had pledged 60 billion dollars in loans.

This amount is over a three-year deal in loans and assistance to the African continent.

Zhao, at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday, said the Chinese loans to Africa were aimed at implementing major China-Africa cooperation projects and promoting sustainable development in the continent.

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He explained that African countries had begun accessing the loans and implementing planned projects.

“African people should know the role the Chinese loans play in your economy. That is the most important thing.

“Except the Chinese Government, which other government provides loans to African countries without critical conditions? No Western country does that.

“How can they say they suspect Chinese loans. It is ridiculous. Without funds, how can you develop a country?

“At the beginning of our opening up to the world, 30 or 40 years ago, we opened our doors to other countries and we borrowed from other countries,” Zhao said.

The envoy further added that China-Africa relations allowed for win-win benefits for both parties.