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International relations

China offers cash-strapped Kyrgyzstan a glimmer of hope on debt

$35m deferral would temporarily ease pressure amid COVID and political upheaval

Workers remove a fence around Kyrgyzstan's house of parliament in Bishkek, which was stormed by protesters in October following the tainted parliamentary election.   © Reuters

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- After repeated requests, China has offered to let Kyrgyzstan defer a scheduled debt repayment, as the impoverished Central Asian country remains under a cloud of political and economic uncertainty.

It was back in April that Kyrgyzstan first asked Beijing for some relief on the $1.8 billion it owes the Export-Import Bank of China, on loans taken for projects linked to China's Belt and Road Initiative. Since then, the COVID-19 crisis has left a huge dent in the finances of a country that, in October, saw a contentious election annulled and a president turfed out of office in less than a month.

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