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Chinese embassy refutes rumours about "take-over" of South Sudan airport

By Xinhua | March 19th 2021

The Chinese Embassy in South Sudan has refuted rumours claiming that China will take over the newly renovated international airport in capital Juba if the loan repayment defaults.

"The rumours have been made up to exaggerate the amount of China's loan to South Sudan, so as to blame China for creating a 'debt trap'," said a statement issued Tuesday by the embassy. Statistics from the International Monetary Fund indicate that the Chinese loan accounts for about 10 percent of South Sudan's total loans and the bulk of them are commercial ones issued by other foreign financial institutions.

The fabricated story insinuated that the amount of Chinese loans to South Sudan is several times higher than the country's total external debts, the Chinese embassy said. China, at the request of the South Sudan government, extended a preferential buyer credit loan to support the renovation and expansion of the Juba International Airport (JIA) that was previously in disrepair.

The airport's reconstruction and expansion started in March 2014 and finished in March 2017. Then the airport was handed over to South Sudan. The refurbished airport has been instrumental in socio-economic development of the world's youngest nation, besides facilitating humanitarian assistance."JIA has always been managed by the South Sudanese side in the past, present and future," said the statement, adding that its renovation and expansion have led to more than a 60-percent increase in passenger flow while its international flights have tripled."Considering the remarkable revenue generated by the project, there will be no difficulty in repaying the loan for South Sudan, nor will it increase the debt burden of the country so long as both sides comply with the agreement faithfully," said the statement.

China has over the years provided humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, supported construction of critical amenities like hospitals, schools and clean water systems.Committed to the country's long-term development through infrastructure development, "China supports South Sudan's infrastructure construction through the combination of both government grants and preferential loans," said the statement.  

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