Boris Johnson has ordered diplomats to launch a new drive against Chinese ‘expansionism’ after Beijing was accused of placing tension on Barbados to remove the Queen as its head of state.
However, the island is one of the dozens of countries that form part of China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, under which Beijing lends money to poorer countries to help them to fund critical infrastructure projects such as ports and high-speed rail lines.
With China able to confiscate control of the finished project if the countries bankruptcy – and frequently demanding preferential terms in trade deals as a condition of the loans – it has led to what one No 10 source described as a ‘Chinese chokehold’ over much of the developing world.
Afterward, Mr Johnson, who fears that the economic damage inflicted by covid-19 will make countries even more susceptible to domination, is to demand that China is more ‘transparent’ about its financial dealings with other countries.
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