The new US ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday that he's concerned about the way China lends money to developing Pacific nations in what he describes as "payday loan diplomacy."
Arthur Culvahouse Jr. told reporters in Canberra that it was up to US allies and Western liberal democracies to educate people about the dangers of such loans.
US vice-president Mike Pence previously warned of China deploying "debt traps" against developing Pacific nations.
"I would use stronger language. I would use payday loan diplomacy," Culvahouse said. He said "the money looks attractive and easy upfront, but you better read the fine print."
China categorically rejects accusations that it uses loans, grants and other financial inducements to extend its diplomatic and political reach, saying it is merely acting in the best interests of both sides in such transactions.