Debt trap (1) PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 March 2018 14:41

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

 

When I was in Canada, specifically Regina, in May, last year, I wrote about the “One Belt, One Road” program of China that promises to build new roads, provide railroads and power plants the boost the economy of countries like the Philippines. The Chinese government said that in granting a huge billion U.S. dollar loan to these countries all it wants in return is the “willingness of the countries (like the Philippines) to link arms and make a buck, together.”

Chinese President Xi Jingping reportedly said that such a transaction “will not base cooperation on ideological grounds, nor will we pursue any political agenda or make any explicit arrangements.” The report, however, said that a document, made public in Pakistan, stated that the planners behind China’s overseas ambitions envision for more than economic cooperation among the so-called “Belt and Road” countries. China, the report added, intends to export its surveillance-heavy security model, deliver content from its state-controlled media and gain “privileged access to foreign agricultural lands and mineral deposits (as in the West Philippine Sea) for its corporate gains.”

Didn’t China already gain access to our aquatic resources and everything underneath the Scarborough Shoal and West Philippine Sea? El President is too afraid to contest the invasion of our sovereign territorial waters “because if we go to war with China, my soldiers will be killed.”

The planning document allegedly offers one the clearest insights into the sweep of what China hopes to gain from its $51 billion “One Belt, One Road” project, $9 billion of which will be loaned to the Philippines for El Presidente’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Last Thursday, Philippine Star columnist Federico D. Pascual, Jr., wrote that the China loan terms must be disclosed. The National Economic and Development Authority, then, should publicly disclose the details of the staggering loan vis-à-vis the 231-page document that details the global economic thrust of China as forecast by China’s powerful planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission.

Mr. Pascual further wrote:

“With so many horror stories of nation-borrowers of China loans falling into a debt trap – among them Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Maldives – it is time that President Duterte told the people the considerations and terms of the massive loan he is securing.

“Unable to pay difficult debts to China, Sri Lanka recently turned over its strategically located Hambantota port to the Asian Shylock eyeing long-term high-value collateral. Hambantota straddles Indian Ocean trade routes linking Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to Asia.”

Mr. Pascual continued that China uses economic tools to advance its geostrategic interests. “Using its $1 trillion “One Belt, One Road” initiative, it picks projects in strategically-located developing countries, often by giving huge loans to their government.”

Last weekend, Mr. Pascual, quoted the Global Times as saying that Zhuang Guotu, head of the Xiamen University’s Southeast Asian Studies Center, that China’s loans to the Philippines are “usually accompanied by repayment agreements, which use certain natural resources as collateral.” OMG! Our territorial waters gone! This explains why Malacañang announced that the Philippines and China would soon partner in a joint exploration of mineral resources in the West Philippine Sea.

A Pakistani senator, Syed Tahoe Husain Mashhad, alleged the Chinese loans lean too heavily in China’s favor. Of Course! He said that an East-Indian company that controlled great swaths of South Asia is now despised because China allegedly stole the land after the railways were built for the India-Pakistan corridor. “It’s all about Chinese investments, and Chinese banks, Chinese money, Chinese industry – everything towards China. And, of course, the profits go to China.