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International relations

China's 'secret loans' throw wrench into G-20 debt relief plans

Concerns mount that debtor nations will use money to pay back Beijing lenders

Kenya's long-distance rail link is one of many infrastructure projects financed by China's Belt and Road initiative.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/TOKYO -- A debt relief scheme worked out by global financial leaders for the poorest nations has raised concerns as it fails to address China's "hidden loans" extended through state-controlled lenders and Beijing's demand for secrecy from debtors.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 leading economies on Wednesday agreed to extend its debt service freeze for poor countries by six months beyond the end of 2020, a move designed to prevent heavily indebted governments from defaulting.

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