The points on Russia are certainly interesting. But they also remark on the tussle between China and 'multilateral' international lenders about debt forgiveness. This is a theme that played out in Washington DC last week during a high-level sovereign debt roundtable on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring meetings in Washington.
In their talk Radhika Desai explains the basic problem with international debt:
RADHIKA DESAI: Well I think that the whole issue of debt, world debt in particular, has become a really important issue at this point, and it's become an important issue because precisely now China is such a large part of the scene.
I remember going back to the earliest days of the pandemic when Third World debt had also figured as a major issue. Already at that point, the key reason why the debt issues were not going to be settled is because the West could not come to terms with the fact that it had to deal with China, and that it had to deal equitably with China.
Because what the West wants to do is precisely to get China to refinance the debt owed to it so that Third World debt repayments go to private lenders.
And China is basically questioning the terms of all of this, because for example China is saying, "Why should the IMF and the World Bank have priority? Why should its debt not be canceled?"
And the West is saying, "But this has always been so."
And China is saying, "Well, if you don't want to reform the IMF and the World Bank, then we are not going to accept their priority. If we have to take a haircut, they will also have to take a haircut."