Beijing rewards the super ambassadors of the New Silk Road

China rewards the envoys of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Malta and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The China-Pakistani Economic Corridor is the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative. However, South Asian countries are increasingly afraid of China’s debt trap. Former Italian PM D'Alema is one of the award’s recipients.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China bestowed special awards on the ambassadors of Pakistan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Malta and Bosnia-Herzegovina in China for their contribution to the New Silk Road, this according to Global Times, the official English-language paper of the Communist Party of China.

The Super Ambassador Awards were handed out in a ceremony last Thursday in Beijing. Former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema was one of the recipients.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the flagship projects in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a plan for the large-scale infrastructural development of ports, railways, roads, highways, with which Beijing wants to get its goods to the heart of Europe.

The BRI strategy involves a total of 65 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. Pakistan, with its 57 billion dollars in Chinese investments, is among the largest beneficiaries of Chinese aid. However, the government of Imran Khan recently decided to cancel an energy agreement to reduce the country’s exposure to Beijing.

In fact, in recent months concern has grown among Asian countries over a potential debt trap with China. Experts believe that the business model promoted by Beijing endangers national interests.

One of countries whose envoy received a reward, the Maldives, slammed China’s investments. Last November, the Maldivian government in fact charged China with inflating “the prices of infrastructure projects” in order to put other nations into debt.

For its part, China has rejected such claims in the case of Sri Lanka’s economy. Criticism in this case stems from Beijing’s deal with the South Asian nation to lease Hambantota Port, in southern Sri Lanka, for 99 years.