Maldives seeks to restructure China's debt after years of strong loans

COLOMBO: The Maldives It is looking for a diplomatic solution to restructure its Chinese debt, as the small but strategically located atoll nation struggles with repayments, the Foreign Ministry said.

Former president of the dictatorship Abdulla Yameen relied heavily on Beijing to provide financial support during his five-year term and his successor's party accused China of land appropriation in the country.

El ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Abdulla Shahid, dijo a los periodistas el jueves que China era un donante generoso, pero que el gobierno anterior de Maldives pidió mucho dinero prestado sin una provisión adecuada para los pagos.

Speaking in Sri Lanka He said that direct loans, as well as government guarantees to state companies on their loans from China, amount to a debt of about $ 1.4 billion.

This is a great burden, he said to the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims.

The loans from the previous government (from President Abdulla Yameen) were unreasonable and put us in trouble, Shahid said.

But we can solve this disaster through diplomatic means. The pro-Beijing Yameen was jailed last month for five years and fined $ 5 million for corruption during his term that ended at the end of last year.

We could have a debt restructuring in the future. I am in contact with the Chinese government and I am sure that we can reach a diplomatic understanding.

Shahid is visiting Sri Lanka for talks with Sri Lanka 's new leaders - President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Prime Minister brother Mahinda - who had also borrowed heavily from China during their previous term in office between 2005 and 2015.

The former Sri Lanka n government handed over control of the Hambantota port in the south of the island to a Chinese company on a 99-year lease in December 2017.

He said he could not pay a debt of $ 1.4 billion from Beijing to build the port with losses.

The port was one of a series of infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa and Europe funded by the China Strip and Highway Initiative, which critics say is overwhelming nations.

The new president declared publicly that he was against giving control over a strategic asset to China and said he wanted the deal to be renegotiated. He has not given details.