Is China considering joining the Paris Club?
The short answer is: no.
Below is how CIDCA’s vice-chairman Zhou Lijun 周柳军 responded to this question, posed at a press conference by Bloomberg, in October 2021 (original article here):
China is currently not a member of the Paris Club, but we have participated in a part of Paris Club activities as a non-member country, and our communication with Paris Club members has been very smooth.
Moving forward, China will adhere to principles of “joint actions, fair burden sharing, a case-by-case approach and multilateral consensus” for multilateral debt treatment, strengthen communication and cooperation with all parties, and work with other parties to help African countries address their debt issues. Moreover, we will work with the African side to speed up the implementation of the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, accelerate the implementation of cooperation projects that meet the African countries’ urgent need for development and further strengthen the internal driving forces of African economies. At the same time, we call on developed countries, multilateral financial institutions and private creditors to mate their words with deeds and do more things that benefit developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. We should work together and complement each other’s strengths to sincerely support developing countries, including African countries, to achieve sustainable development and bring tangible benefits to their people.
While Zhou Lijun doesn’t answer the question directly, the implied answer is clearly: no. The answer is an expression of China’s belief that the Paris Club principles do not match the development financing needs of developing countries and are not suited to bring “tangible benefits” to their people. Something, the answer implies, that Chinese development finance does.
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