Chinese officials have agreed to participate in a global sovereign debt “roundtable” that would include a wide variety of stakeholders, including private sector creditors, International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday.
Georgieva told an event hosted by the IMF that she was feeling “a bit more optimistic” about the prospects for dealing with major debt issues facing low- and middle-income countries after high-level meetings with Chinese authorities last week.
The IMF chief last week she had a “fruitful exchange” with her Chinese counterparts on the need to accelerate debt relief for countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka, adding that she saw “space for a platform for more systematic engagement on debt issues, where China can play an active role.”
On Thursday, Georgieva said she had a “very constructive engagement” with Chinese leaders on the debt issue during her meetings after repeated calls for reforms to accelerate debt treatments under the Group of 20 common framework and expand it to include middle-income countries.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other Western officials have expressed mounting frustration about what they see as foot-dragging by China, now the world’s largest sovereign creditor, in providing relief under the G20 framework.
China has argued that private creditors and multilateral development banks should be required to accept debt “haircuts” to make the process fair.