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Philippines Looks to Calm Growing Fears of a China Debt Trap

Manila

Manila

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
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Philippine finance officials said the country will be able to repay Xi Jinping’s government for millions of dollars in backing for local water projects, a bid to quell rising concerns that it risks falling into a Chinese debt trap.

The country’s constitution requires an automatic allotment of funds for annual debt payments, Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said at a televised briefing on Wednesday. “We’ve never had a history that we’ve reneged on our obligations even through the hardest times,” he said. Since taking office in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed deals for billions’ worth of Chinese loans and grants.