China denies luring S. Sudan into debt-trap, but admits to building JIA from scratch
The Chinese Embassy in Juba has denied speculative reports suggesting that China may take over the Juba International Airport if South Sudan fails to repay its unsettled loans allegedly amounting to 2.6 million USD.
“On March 16, 2021, the Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan made the following remarks on the groundless accusations against China-South Sudan cooperation made recently by related personnel,” the Embassy noted in a statement.
“The Chinese Embassy has noticed that recently a small number of people produce and spread misinformation, attacking China-South Sudan cooperation groundlessly. The fabricated story even claims that the Juba International Airport (JIA) would be taken over by the Chinese side because South Sudan can’t repay Chinese loan.”
The Chinese government blamed an unnamed country for trying to damage relations between South Sudan and China.
“The rumors have been made up to exaggerate the amount of China’s loan to South Sudan, so as to blame China for creating a “debt trap”. Such ridiculous tales are not new. They are just the same as the hype tactics of some forces in other countries and regions in recent years. It is not too difficult for people to judge the purpose behind the story.
The old JIA used to be in a state of disrepair with its runway seriously damaged, facing great safety hazards.”
“At the request of the Government of South Sudan, China provided South Sudan with preferential buyer credit loan to support the reconstruction and expansion of JIA after careful feasibility study. Started in March 2014, the project was completed and handed over to South Sudan in March 2017. JIA has always been managed by South Sudanese side in past, present and future.”
“After the completion of the project, JIA’s passenger flow has increased by more than 60% and international flights turnover has tripled. The new JIA has played an important role in promoting economic and social development of the country and implementing the international humanitarian assistance, bringing considerable direct and comprehensive benefits to South Sudan every year. Considering the remarkable revenue generated by the project, there will be no difficulty in repaying the loan for South Sudan, nor will it increase the debt burden of the country so long as both sides comply with the agreement faithfully.”
“Over the years, China has provided humanitarian assistance to South Sudan within its capabilities, and supported the construction of hospitals, schools and other livelihood projects. China also takes the lead in providing in-kind assistance to South Sudan’s peace process. Meanwhile, focusing on the long-term development needs of South Sudan and fully considering the country’s economic situation, China supports South Sudan’s infrastructure construction through the combination of both government grants and preferential loan.”
“According to the statistics of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), so far Chinese loan only accounts for about 10% of South Sudan’s total loans, and most of South Sudan’s debts are commercial loans issued by financial institutions of other countries and regions. However, the amount of China’s loan to South Sudan fabricated by the false story is said to be several times the total amount of South Sudan’s external debts. The implication that China creates a “debt trap” are therefore totally groundless.”
“We hope that the producers of the story can at least do some homework out of their busy schedule of spreading misinformation, otherwise they will only degenerate themselves, lose credibility and fall into the moral trap set by themselves.”