- Beijing 'has plenty of money, and if they don't, they create it', he says
- Tweet comes after bank agrees five-year low-interest loan programme worth US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion annually
US President Donald Trump lashed out at the World Bank on Friday for lending money to China.
"Why is the World Bank loaning money to China? Can this be possible? China has plenty of money, and if they don't, they create it. STOP!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
The president was reiterating a position long held by his administration, including David Malpass, a former US treasury department official who took over as head of the World Bank earlier this year.
Trump's message was echoed by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who told a House of Representatives committee on Thursday that the US "has objected" to the institution's multi-year programme of loans and projects in China.
That programme of aiding China with US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion in low-interest loans annually through June 2025 was nonetheless adopted on Thursday. It plans to reduce its lending to China.
The World Bank said the loans in the five-year plan would be aimed at advancing market and fiscal reforms, promoting greener growth and increasing citizens' access to health and social services. The World Bank loaned China US$1.3 billion in the financial year ended June 30, down from about US$2.4 billion two years earlier.
According to Martin Raiser, the World Bank's country director for China, the programme "reflects the evolution of our relationship with China".
"Our engagement will be increasingly selective," he said on Thursday.
But the reduction is not enough for Washington, which argues that the world's second-largest economy is rich enough to finance itself and not depend on loans from the World Bank, which is supposed to bring financial resources to poor countries.
Trump's very public stance comes amid negotiations between Washington and Beijing seeking to end a 17-month trade war, which is aimed at forcing China to make concessions on protecting American businesses and reducing its trade surplus.
There is a great deal of uncertainty about the date of a possible partial agreement, despite Trump saying in October that it was imminent.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday that China is an important partner of the World Bank with long-term and good cooperation.
"We would like to deepen that cooperation with the World Bank in loans and knowledge sharing, and share our poverty alleviation experience with other developing countries to help them achieve long-term, sustainable development," she said.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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