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International relations

Mahathir warns Philippines about China loans

Duterte and Malaysian leader vow to keep South China Sea open

Malaysian Prime Mahathir Mohamad and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte greet each other in Manila on March 7.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday warned Philippines about becoming too indebted to China as Manila draws down Chinese funds to build much-needed infrastructure.

Earlier this week, the Philippine Senate conducted an inquiry into the interest rates and questionable terms offered by China that had been lapped up by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is keen to improve infrastructure in the country. China had opened a $9 billion credit line to Philippines during Duterte's state visit to Beijing in 2016. Of that amount, at least $300 million has been agreed in loans to develop dams and irrigation projects so far.

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