Bangladeshi FM rejects “debt trap” claim on China-Bangladesh cooperation
Dhaka — Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has brushed aside the claim that his country is falling into a Chinese “debt trap”.
China’s loans to Bangladesh only comprise a small fraction of the country’s external debt, said the minister while speaking to reporters after attending a program in the capital Dhaka Saturday.
He said the “debt trap concern” was an apparent bid to smear China’s Belt and Road Initiative and deter the cooperation between China and Bangladesh or other countries in the region and beyond.
“You have to have 40 percent loan if you want to get into a debt trap,” said the minister, referring to the debt-to-GDP ratio. “Bangladesh’s total debt is just over 15 percent or about 16 percent.”
Momen said Bangladesh so far borrowed the most from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund. “The Chinese loan is not even about 5 percent of our total amount of borrowing money from foreign sources,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said Bangladesh has become an “eyesore” for some due to the country’s geopolitical significance. “The issue of human rights is not the real purpose, the real purpose is to see whether they can reap some benefits from creating pressure on us,” he noted.
Momen had earlier slammed the U.S. sanctions on officials of the country’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) over alleged rights abuse, saying the move was “very unfortunate” and “not fact-based”. (Xinhua)