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Asia’s debt states are becoming more and more dependent

Xi Jinping (rechts), Thongloun Sisoulith (links)

The two heads of state opened the express train route together in 2021 – but so far there have been hardly any passengers.

(Photo: imago images/Kyodo News)

Bangkok It was about airports and motorways, ports and railway lines. Many already heavily indebted countries have fulfilled their expensive dreams with the help of China in the past – now they are suffering from a loss of control. The global economic crisis drives them into bankruptcy, but former wish-granters China often thwarts their debt relief efforts.

Sri Lanka, Kenya, Argentina and other countries have thus ended up in an ominous relationship of dependency: Beijing has long since decided on their future.

Take Laos, for example: the country is one of the poorest in Asia, but the Southeast Asian landlocked country does not have to do without expensive infrastructure. The most expensive construction project is about 20 kilometers outside of the capital Vientiane. The new main station of a high-speed line stretches between fallow fields – financed by extensive loans from China. Since December, an express train has been hissing from here every morning to the Chinese border, 400 kilometers away.

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