Multiple Chinese government media outlets used their opinion pages Sunday and Monday to attack Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for warning Latin American countries to stay away from Beijing’s predatory loan offers, calling American concerns “malicious nonsense.”
Pompeo, during a visit to Panama, told reporters in the region that Washington is growing increasingly concerned with China’s offers of high-interest loans to developing countries in the name of the Belt and Road Initiative, a Xi Jinping project nominally intended to recreate the ancient Silk Road through an extensive network of new railways, roads, and ports in Eurasia.
Unlike ties between America and other states in the Western Hemisphere, the Chinese newspaper alleged that “relations between China and Latin America are based on mutual respect and equality.”
China Daily, another state-run publication typically aimed at English-language audiences, published multiple articles this weekend urging South America to dismiss Pompeo’s warning as “malicious nonsense.” In an article published Monday, China Daily accused not only Pompeo, but the government of India of “denigrat[ing] the Belt and Road Initiative,” alleged proof of “their envy of the initial fruits the initiative has produced.”
Last week, the government of Ecuador began studying an investigative report that suggested the nation lost $2 billion in oil profits through deals with China under previous leftist President Rafael Correa.