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Chinese embassy refutes claims of Juba airport takeover


March 27, 2021 (JUBA) - The Chinese embassy in South Sudan has refuted claims that China may take over the newly renovated Juba International Airport should South Sudan fail to pay its loans.

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Salva Kiir attends the signing of the standard gauge railway agreement with China in Nairobi, Kenya, on 11 May 2014 (Photo: AP/Thomas Mukoya)

A statement the embassy issued on Tuesday said, “the rumors have been made up to exaggerate the amount of China’s loan to South Sudan, so as to blame the East Asian country for creating a ‘debt trap’.”

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Chinese loans account for about 10 percent of South Sudan’s total loans, most of which are commercial loans issued by foreign financial institutions.

The spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Juba, Ye Shuang said China, at the request of South Sudan government, provided a preferential buyer credit loan to support the reconstruction and expansion of Juba Airport which was in a sorry state.

The airport’s renovation works started in 2014 and ended in 2017, with the new-look facility fully handed over to South Sudan. The refurbished airport has been instrumental in the socio-economic development of the world’s youngest nation.

According to Shuang, it has led to more than a 60-percent increase in passenger flow while its international flights have tripled.

“Considering the remarkable revenue generated by the project, we do not foresee any difficulty in repaying the loan for South Sudan. We also do not expect the loan to increase the debt burden of the West African country so long as both parties commit to the agreement,” he stressed.

China recognized South Sudan’s independence from neighbouring Sudan on July 9, 2011.

In June 2020, South Sudan was one of 53 countries that backed the Hong Kong national security law at the United Nations.


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