March 11 (EIRNS)—China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang sharply rejected a statement by the head of Xiamen University’s Southeast Asian Studies Center Zhuang Guotu, in the Global Times regarding loans to the Philippines, that “Chinese loans are usually accompanied by repayment agreements, which use certain natural resources as collateral.” This had provoked concern in the Philippines regarding Chinese loans for infrastructure projects.
Geng Shuang countered Zhuang: “China has never asked and will never ask relevant countries to use natural resources as collateral in loan agreements. In this vein, our assistance and support to the Philippines are provided with no strings attached.” Geng continued that Zhuang “only represents himself, not the official stance of the Chinese government.”
He said further: “China will not link the South China Sea issue with bilateral economic and trade cooperation projects,” and that Beijing fully supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” policy. He said that the Chinese government and financial institutions have also provided financing support to the Philippines, including preferential buyers’ credits, and assisted the Philippines in issuing panda bonds, which effectively ensured the implementation of relevant projects.