There is too much debt floating around the world and China is a big reason why, World Bank President David Malpass said Thursday.
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“There are challenges facing the world in terms of how do you have transparent projects that are high quality, where the debt is transparent. China moved so fast that in some part of the world there is just too much debt,” Malpass told CNBC’s Sara Eisen on “Squawk on the Street.” “That’s something that we can work on with China.”
China has lent trillions of dollars to other countries, including the U.S. As of January, China owns $1.12 trillion in U.S. Treasurys, according to data from the Treasury Department.
Malpass has been a critic of China’s lending efforts to fund its “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure initiative. Last year, he said these loans leave weaker countries with “excessive debt and low-quality projects.”
On Thursday, Malpass indicated China is willing to scale back on these efforts, noting: “They want to see a better relationship with other countries and be part of the world system. I expect to be successful in that and have a good relationship with China.”
Malpass has also criticized China for taking low-cost loans from the World Bank despite being the second largest economy in the world and surpassing the bank’s income threshold for low-cost loans in 2016.
“China recognizes that its role as a borrower in the bank needs to diminish,” Malpass said. He also noted that World Bank loans to China have been decreasing, adding he expects this to continue over the next three years.
Malpass was elected to his post last Friday. Before joining the World Bank, Malpass served as under secretary of international affairs at the Treasury Department.
Correction: A previous version of this story misrepresented Malpass’ comments.