Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun said official creditors China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of China suspended $1.353 billion in payments from 23 nations.
The country's official bilateral creditors, the China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of China, have suspended a total of 1.353 billion US dollars of debt service payments, benefiting 23 countries, Liu said in an interview published Friday on the ministry's website. Nearly two dozen countries are set to benefit from the measure. The move is part of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for Poorest Countries (DSSI), agreed by the G20 in April, shortly after Covid-19 started wreaking havoc globally.
"China will stay in close communication and coordination with other parties within the G20 over the issue of debt vulnerabilities in the poorest countries, and we will continue to participate, in an active manner, in the multilateral debt coordination process", Liu said.
In the draft, the leaders noted that the coronavirus crisis had hit the most vulnerable in society hardest, and said some countries may need debt relief beyond a temporary freeze in official debt payments that ends in June 2021.
The draft communique also expressed support for a push by the International Monetary Fund to explore additional tools to address countries' needs as the crisis evolved, and to address the "particular challenges faced by small developing states". It will also prioritise the supply of any COVID-19 vaccine to poor economies. According to G20 creditor data as of last month, the requests from countries to benefit from the plan will amount to an estimated $5 billion of 2020 debt service to be deferred.
The draft said both borrowers and creditors should be more transparent about official and private debt, and urged private sector creditors to take part in the G20 debt relief effort. The poorest nations' official bilateral debt to G-20 countries reached US$178 billion previous year, with 63 per cent of the total owed to China, a World Bank study showed.