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Helga Zepp-LaRouche Defends Belt and Road on CGTN ‘Dialogue’ Broadcast

Dec. 2, 2021 (EIRNS)—Schiller Institute Chairwoman and founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche appeared today on China’s CGTN TV broadcast “Dialogue, Ideas Matter,” on which she discussed the eight years of the Belt and Road Initiative, taking up the example of the completion of the Laos rail corridor as the latest example, and counterposing the BRI with the Malthusian ideology expressed by Klaus Schwab on behalf of the networks represented at the World Economic Forum.

Zepp-LaRouche said that one of the best ways to understand the importance of the BRI would be to imagine what the world would be like had the BRI not been launched. As it completed the task of lifting its own population out of extreme poverty, China was able to export its development experience and capabilities to other countries able to benefit from projects and growth in their own countries.

The other guest on the segment, Shiran Illanperuma, a Sri Lankan analyst with Econsult Asia, pointed to the importance of the Hambantota port to his nation, countering the debt-trap narrative according to which China upgraded the port for purposes of taking it over.

Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche called the new Laos railroad to be one of the most exciting recent projects by virtue of its connecting, through Laos, the ASEAN community generally with China. This railroad is not simply a rail line, but rather a potential development corridor to spur growth.

The debt-trap narrative was again countered by a full explanation of Sri Lanka’s national debt and the port itself. Only 10% of Sri Lanka’s external debt is to China—the same percentage as the portion of Sri Lanka’s debt owed to Japan or the Asian Development Bank. The port was leased for 99 years to a Chinese company in return for a large cash infusion that Sri Lanka used for general budgetary reasons, not specifically for debt repayment. Near the port, several industrial projects have also been built.

Asked to respond to criticisms of the BRI—that it is not transparent, that it is to expand China’s influence, and that it is being used to expand China’s international military presence—Zepp-LaRouche insisted that one must look at the ideology underlying the objections. For Klaus Schwab, for example, population and economic growth are themselves a problem, and countries that are currently underdeveloped should remain as underdeveloped sources for raw materials.

“We have reached a point where we need a complete change of the system, and I think the model China has offered is the best available on the planet,” she concluded.

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