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Why Biden’s Use of ‘Debt Trap’ Was so Awkward

US President Joe Biden listens during the inaugural Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders' Summit at the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 3, 2023. Jim WATSON / AFP

This weekend, U.S. President Joe Biden made clear that, no matter how often it’s debunked, the “debt trap” will never die.

Without recapping the entire debate, the talking point implies that Global South countries work with China because they’re ill-informed or have been duped, when in fact the choice is more frequently a response to a constrained development financing system of which the United States is a key architect and beneficiary. It therefore can’t but come off as gaslighting.

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The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


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