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Beware of China debt trap, experts warn PH officials

05:26 AM June 27, 2018

Geopolitical experts have warned the Philippines against falling into a debt trap through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during a recent forum.

The Stratbase ADR Institute (Adri), at the forum, presented “The 21st Century Silk Road: Perils and Opportunities of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”

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It was written by Richard Heydarian, a nonresident fellow of Stratbase Adri.

Dindo Manhit, Stratbase Adri president, said that while some saw BRI as a “promising initiative,” others considered it “too ambiguous and murky.”

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States, he said, were prompted to “exercise more caution in screening Chinese contractors and applying strong safeguards to prevent being trapped into ‘debt diplomacy.’”

In his study, Heydarian said BRI’s objectives were aligned with China’s goals like developing landlocked hinterlands, outsourcing production and promoting state-owned but troubled enterprises.

In the Philippines, some Chinese projects in past administrations have become controversial because of corruption, lack of transparency and accountability.

The study said some Chinese contractors of Philippine projects had been blacklisted by the World Bank.

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TAGS: Belt and Road Initiative, China-Philippines relations, Dindo Manhit, Richard Heydarian, Stratbase ADR Institute
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