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Wang Yi Teaches U.S., Act Responsibly, Stop Peddling Lies About Belt and Road ‘Forced Labor’

July 22, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a signed article for the Global Times Economy section dated July 20, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi slammed the absurd claim in the U.S. State Department’s 2022 “Trafficking in Persons” report that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a vehicle for human trafficking, forced labor and all manner of abuses of workers involved in BRI projects around the world. Given its own dismal human rights record, Wang advises, it really is time for the U.S. to “mind its business” instead of using its report to try to “undermine the mutually beneficial economic cooperation between China and economies under the BRI framework.... The forced labor lies cannot undermine the Belt and Road cooperation,” he warns, because economic cooperation under the BRI promotes economic development of the host countries and regional prosperity. Besides, he rather pointedly adds, BRI projects require long-term input and hard work, which most Western countries aren’t willing to invest in.

Wang points out first that there are no conditionalities attached to aid provided under the BRI. The U.S. is delusional if it thinks it can sabotage the BRI’s mutually beneficial cooperation by fabricating lies. Furthermore, the U.S. Build Back Better World and Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment have not only not produced results, they are aimed more at “geopolitical gaming” rather than real economic cooperation. The reality is that developing nations don’t need a condescending “human rights teacher,” the U.S.’s preferred role, or “ideological preaching ... but real investment to promote local development.” Does the West even have the sincerity to offer this, Wang asks?

Developing countries are facing a looming global debt crisis, he warns, and many of them are suffering the consequences of the “irresponsible macroeconomic measures of the West.” The U.S. would do better, he offers, to drop its hostility and lies about the BRI, and instead work with China to “adopt a gesture of a responsible power and jointly work out solutions.” Yes, the West’s infrastructure plans compete with China in some areas, “but this does not mean there is no room for cooperation.”

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