By Herman Laurel
Last June 21, 2022 in the US-oligarchy gofer Manny Pangilinan newspaper Philippine Star, the outgoing Amboy Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin again lied for his American masters.
In a news headlined “Locsin: Japan key vs. Debt trap; US freedom guardian” Locsin claimed that “Sri Lanka had been cited as a country that has fallen into China’s debt trap diplomacy due to loans from China to build the Hambantota Port after the country defaulted and subsequently gave a 99-year lease to China in lieu of payment.”
As we are showing you now in a chart from DW, a German news source, China’s low interest loans to Sri Lanka constitute only 10% of Sri Lanka’s total debt and commercial Market borrowings constitute 47% (mostly from Western and developed countries’ banks) that comprise the real burden of Sri Lanka’s debt. Locsin repeats the lie of Western propaganda.
The real scholar of China-Africa engagement including the immense benefit China’s loans have been for the poorest of the poor among the developing nations is Deborah Brautigam who wrote the in-depth book entitled “The Chinese debt trap is a Myth” debunked all the black propaganda against China’s development assistance to Third World countries.
The truth about the Hambantota project is that the original proponent was the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) commissioning Canadian engineering SNC-Lavalin and then Danish consultant Ramboll both finding it feasible. President Mahinda Rajapaksa sought China’s financial assistance for low interest loans, and this has nothing to do with Sri Lanka’s debt problem.
Sri Lanka’s debt burden comes from 47% of its total foreign debt from high interest “Market borrowings” as the chart below shows. ADB, Japan, WR, India and others also have loans to Sri Lanka. So Locsin parroting the Western media barefacedly lies when he claims Sri Lanka’s “debt trap” is due to China’s Hambantota Port project loans.
Successive Sri Lankan governments have continued to rely on China’s beneficent financial support to tide over its recurrent financial crises. Shame on you Amboy Locsin!