• SHARE

China’s Xi Jinping made a lot of grand promises March 28, pledging a new order where China and Chinese-led institutions such as the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would promote prosperity across the region. But he was on shaky ground — literally. The Boao Forum where Xi spoke took place in Haikou, capital of China’s island province of Hainan, whose local government, it seems, may not be able to pay its debt this year.

Much has been written about the $50 billion AIIB, which has won support from staunch U.S. allies Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom, among others. Xi is clearly relishing what looks like a soft-power victory over the United States, gleefully touting China as a one-stop shop for “markets, growth, investment and cooperation opportunities.” Before he starts writing checks, though, Xi should take a closer look at China’s own books. Haikou is just one of many local governments grappling with a $4 trillion-plus debt pile. If Chinese leaders are going to achieve their growing international aspirations, they’re going to have to be far more ambitious about getting their financial house in order first.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW