Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced the cancellation of the Belt and Road agreements entered into with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) the day after leader Xi Jinping boasted of the greatness of the initiative covering dozens of countries.
“I consider these four agreements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations,” Payne said, including the cancellation of other agreements entered into with Iran and Syria, also detrimental to Australia, according to Bloomberg on April 21.
Diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing escalated since Australia pushed for an investigation into the origin of the CCP Virus or coronavirus during the health crisis generated by the CCP Virus.
Beijing has since taken retaliatory trade actions, including imposing crippling tariffs on Australian barley and wine and blocking coal shipments.
The Australian government’s decision to break away from the Belt and Road agreements could drive a wedge paving the way for other countries to withdraw from the heavy burden they become.
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli canceled a $10 billion loan from the CCP, commenting that with such conditions, “only a drunk would agree to the terms,” according to HW News.
The loan was to finance the construction of a port, with the condition that the investors get 30 years of guarantee on that financing and 99 years of uninterrupted lease.
Generally, the CCP controls infrastructure works to benefit its economy, jobs go to Chinese workers, and subcontracts to companies linked to the CCP.
Furthermore, the procedure followed by the CCP in such negotiations finances the elites of democratically weak countries, encouraging them to look the other way in the face of human rights violations, facilitating the approval of its controversial loans.
In particular, the most impoverished countries end up losing their industries, their natural resources, their strategic points, and even their sovereignty because of the impossibility of complying with the conditions imposed in the long term by the CCP.
In this sense, the international think tank Gatestone Institute questioned the so-called “debt traps,” whereby the CCP grants loans to emerging countries to permanently subjugate them.
“Some of these bilateral packages appear to have been devised to lock already impoverished states into realms of permanent economic vassalage from China,” the entity noted on Aug. 28.
“The economic benefits of some of these agreements between China and poor ‘Third World’ countries in Africa and Latin America are questionable,” adds the Gatestone Institute.
For his part, Xi Jinping admitted his plans to use the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to impose on the world the rules and standards to be met. He said he seeks to displace the United States and Europe as the world’s foremost power in his inaugural speech at the Boao Forum for Asia on April 20.