Amid Sri Lanka's deepening economic crisis, Bangladesh’s finance minister Mustafa Kamal warned that countries should "think twice" before agreeing to join China in its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative(BRI).
Kamal blamed China for not carrying out a rigorous study before forwarding its Belt and Road project which has plunged some countries into a debt crisis. The Bangladesh minister cited Sri Lanka's example which was involved in the controversial Hambantota project.
Kamal's comments come as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Sunday. Wang Yi had said China wanted to "enhance" the BRI project as part of "Bangladesh's Vision 2041".
Sri Lanka has also been negotiating with the IMF for a financial bailout after defaulting on its debts. The country has been thrown into political turmoil as people protested violently against the Rajapaksa regime as angry crowds in the country stormed the president's official residence prompting the leader to flee abroad.
Sri Lanka's new President Ranil Wickremesinghe has vowed to restore order however the country continues to experience economic woes while battling high inflation combined with fuel and electricity crises.
Kamal told the Financial Times of London that China should take the blame for debts due to the BRI project and it "cannot disagree" as it urged the Xi regime to focus on it since it was "very, very important” even as the minister claimed that Bangladesh is not at risk of defaulting on its debt like Sri Lanka.