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China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has called it the “project of the century” and said it will usher in a “golden age” of globalisation.
With Beijing-backed projects in 78 countries, the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) is one of the world’s most ambitious development programmes. But critics fear it could become the conduit through which some of China’s debt problems are transmitted overseas.
A series of controversies that have flared in countries as far apart as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Malaysia, Montenegro and others are all related to debt sustainability — either because of the perceived inability of countries to handle outsized debts to China, or because some Beijing-funded infrastructure projects do not appear likely to justify their price tag…
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