US presses China for debt relief in developing countries

Following a face-to-face meeting in Bali, Indonesia, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged Monday morning to work together to fight climate change, protect global health and ensure access to food, among other things. 

“The world, I believe, expects China and the United States to play a key role in addressing global challenges, from climate change to food insecurity, and… that we can work together,” Biden said in his opening address for the meeting, which closed on the press. “The United States stands ready to do just that — to work with you — if that’s what you desire.”

The two leaders disagreed on specific policy actions, but meetings between officials from both countries are expected to follow that could yield more tangible results.

“President Biden underlined that the United States and China must work together to address transnational challenges – such as climate change, global macroeconomic stability, including debt relief, health security and global food security – because that is what the international community expects,” a readout stated. after the meeting. “The two leaders agreed to allow key senior officials to maintain communication and deepen constructive efforts on these and other issues.”

The U.S. and China will once again collaborate on issues including climate change, according to a White House readout of a meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping. 

The readout said that Biden “underscored” that the countries need to work together to address global challenges including climate change. 

“The two leaders agreed to empower key senior officials to maintain communication and deepen constructive efforts on these and other issues,” the readout stated.

Additional issues that the U.S. and China would work together on include debt relief, health security and food security, according to the White House. 

The resumption of climate collaboration comes after the countries stopped working together on the issue earlier in the year. China halted its cooperation with the U.S. after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. 

The two countries had agreed to work together on climate change during last year’s global climate summit, known as COP26. The partnership is notable since China and the U.S. are the world’s first and second largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. This year’s conference started this month.

The US is pressing China and other G20 members to do more on debt relief for the world’s poorest countries, a senior US official said Tuesday.

The issue will be highlighted in the final joint statement when the summit in the Indonesian resort island of Bali ends this week, the official said, but there will not be unanimity.

“What you’re going to see in the G20 statement is that 19 members of the G20 came together to say this is a core, first-order issue that we need to take collective action with respect to, and you’ll see that, you know, one country is still blocking progress,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He would not name the hold-out country but this appeared likely to be China, a massive creditor to poor countries around the world in a policy that Western countries have condemned as “debt traps” used to tighten Beijing’s grip on the global economy.

The official mentioned similar opposition to joint agreement on restructuring such debts at the October meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The issue “will continue to be a topic of conversation between the US and China and within the G20”, he said.

“We’re seeing – because of the stresses on the global economy, because of the food and energy security issues that we’re facing, as well as the broader macro-economic headwinds in the globe – that a set of emerging countries are finding themselves in pretty substantial distress when it comes to their debt burdens,” the US official said.

“It is vital to find a way forward to provide those countries that relief, so they can ultimately begin growing again and get their citizens and their economy out from under the burden.”

Debt relief will also be a concern in broader relations with China, which presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping sought to reinvigorate Monday at a meeting on the sidelines of the G20.

“I suspect that that will be a core topic that we continue engaging the PRC (China) on in the weeks and months ahead,” the official said.


copied by ada derana

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