Handful Of Countries Are Spreading False Rumor Of Debt Trap In Pokhara International Airport: Chinese Embassy Spokesperson

Handful Of Countries Are Spreading False Rumor Of Debt Trap In Pokhara International Airport: Chinese Embassy Spokesperson

March 19, 2024, 2:48 p.m.

The Chinese Embassy in Nepal has denied that Pokhara Airport has been discussed as 'debt trap diplomacy'. The spokesperson of the Chinese embassy, ​​Yu, has claimed that no cooperation partner has accused China of creating a debt trap.

Spokesperson Yu says, 'They are a handful of countries that are spreading the illusion of a Chinese debt trap. 'Pokhara Airport is the third international airport of Nepal. The airport, which was officially inaugurated on January 1, 2023, has not yet been put into operation. This airport was built by China CAMC Engineering Company.

In a question Pokhra Airport is likely to Cause Debt Problems for Nepal. With no Schedule international flights arriving at the airport, many Nepali say they are worried that the country will default on the loan provided by China to build the airport. Some Indian media have called this an example of China’s “Debt Trap Diplomacy”. What is your response to this? spokesperson said

An agreement of 216 million US dollars has been signed between Nepal and China for the project. And, 25 percent of the total cost is grant aid, while the remaining 75 percent of the cost is in loans at 2 percent interest. In 2016, a 20-year contract was signed for the project and Nepal will borrow the remaining amount from the Export-Import Bank of China.

Nepal has agreed to start repaying the debt in 2026. The airport, which was opened a year ago, had only charter flights from China. India has not yet provided international air routes for Pokhara Airport and Gautam Budh International Airport.

In response, the embassy spokesperson said that China is always committed to providing more direct flights from China to Pokhara in the international flights mentioned by the questioner, and charter flights from Chengdu and Kunming to Pokhara have already been implemented.

"Rather than some countries speaking for the development of Nepal's tourism and aviation, I would like to emphasize that it is more appropriate to join hands with China instead of creating obstacles for more international flights and airport operations in Pokhara," said the spokesperson.

Chinese Embassy Spokesperson’s Statement on Pokhara International Airport

Question by a multi-media journalist: Pokhra Airport is likely to Cause Debt Problems for Nepal. With no Scheduled international flights are arriving at the airport, many Nepali say they are worried that the country will default on the loan provided by China to build the airport. Some Indian media have called this an example of China’s “Debt Trap Diplomacy”. What is your response to this?

Pokhara International Airport is an important infrastructure project in China-Nepal cooperation and is hailed in Nepal as a project of National honor, which helped Pokhara people realize their dream of owning an international airport for half a century. Pokhara International Airport went into operation on January 1, 2023, and the amount of passenger traffic in 2023 reached 0.9 million far exceeding the designated 0.8 million. As of February 9, the passenger service surpassed 1 million while the passenger traffic of the Pokhara Airport in 2019 was just 0.7 million at its pick before COVID-19. It speaks volumes for the significant contribution of Pokhara International Airport to Nepal's tourism and aviation industry.

So-called China-made “debt trap” are nothing but a narrative trap created by some forces to disturb and jeopardize China’s cooperation with other developing countries. It goes against economic common sense.

According to the Nepal Public Debt Management Office, as of July of 2023, the majority of Nepal’s foreign debt including ADB, and IMF, accounts for 88 percent. The bilateral debt only accounts for 12 percent with Japan being the largest creditor country followed by India. China only ranks third. Not a single cooperation partner has accused China of creating “debt traps”. It is a handful of countries that have been spreading the fallacy of China’s Debt trap.

On the international Flights, you have mentioned, China has always been committed to have more direct flights from China to Pokhara and charter flights from Chengdu and Kunming to Pokhara have already been implemented. I would like to stress that for some countries rather speaking for the development of tourism and aviation, it is better to join China to have more international flights to Pokhara and provide convenience for airport operation instead of setting obstacles. For Detail X

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