China runs ‘payday loan’ diplomacy, says US envoy

ANKARA 

Amid tariff war, the U.S. on Wednesday accused China of running “payday loan” diplomacy in the Pacific region.

The statement was made by the newly-appointed U.S. envoy to Australia Arthur B Culvahouse Jr, whose remarks came shortly after being ceremonially welcomed to the capital Canberra by the Governor-General, Australia’s ABC News reported.

Culvahouse expressed “concern” about the “way China lends money to developing Pacific nations.”

Culvahouse told the reporters: “I think it’s on us, all of the allies and the western or liberal democracies, to educate people about the dangers of these loans. The money looks attractive and easy up front, but you better read the fine print.”

“I would use stronger language – I would use payday loan diplomacy,” ABC News quoted Culvahouse as saying.

Earlier, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence warned of China deploying “debt traps” against developing Pacific nations.

The U.S. envoy, whose post was vacant since 2016, said that his country was “increasingly” focused on the whole Indo-Pacific region, which was a “huge engine of economic growth”.

“The United States is reassessing — now that we have the latitude frankly. More people are realizing we need to spend a lot of time and attention in this area,” Culvahouse said.

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