August 27, 2018 / 10:49 AM / 5 months ago

China says Belt and Road initiative is not a debt trap

Ning Jizhe, a vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, attends a news conference ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Yang Kejia

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” projects are not a debt trap, and some countries’ high debt levels are long-standing and not to be blamed on the initiative, a senior official at China’s state planner said on Monday.

Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), made the remarks at a news conference in Beijing.

The Belt and Road initiative, first mentioned in a speech Chinese President Xi Jinping gave in Kazakhstan in 2013, is a vehicle for Beijing to take a greater role on the international stage by funding and building global transport and trade links in more than 60 countries.

Reporting by Elias Glenn; Writing by Yawen Chen; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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