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China is using the US debt battle to deflect pressure on Africa’s debt

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BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says the United States should stop pressuring it to forgive Zambia’s debt and get its own financial house to avert bankruptcy and possible fallout from the global economy.

China’s embassy in Zambia on Tuesday reacted to remarks by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who, during a visit to the African nation this week, said it was very important to deal with China’s heavy debt burden.

“The biggest contribution the US can make to debt problems abroad is … to deal with its own debt problem and stop sabotaging the active efforts of other sovereign countries to solve their debt problems,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement.

China’s development banks have emerged as major lenders to poorer countries around the world for natural resources, transportation and energy projects, even as such lending has fallen sharply over the past five years, according to Boston University’s Center for Global Development Policy.

In response to Yellen, China took aim at the battle between Republican lawmakers and the Democratic Biden administration to raise the U.S. debt limit to allow more borrowing to keep the government running.

The embassy statement then turned to Zambia, saying China had made some progress as co-chair of the creditors’ committee seeking a sustainable solution. She said China looks forward to the US playing a constructive role in the process.

“Even if the US one day solves its debt problem, it is not qualified to make baseless accusations or pressure … other countries for selfish interests,” the statement said.

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