Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the Chinese ambassador to Kiev had denied Russian media reports that Beijing sought the return of US$3 billion loan over an alleged breach of terms of the contract.
Citing a Ukrainian parliament official, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported on Tuesday that the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine has used part of the loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to finance grain exports to other countries and parties, instead of exclusively for China.
The report was carried by the Chinese-language service of The Voice of Russia radio before being picked up by most major mainland online news outlets.
But in a statement issued overnight, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Chinese ambassador Zhang Xiyun had told Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Victor Mayko on Wednesday that there is no problem exists between the two countries that would negatively affect bilateral relation, and that China had not demanded that the loan be returned.
“The Ambassador of China emphasised the absence of claims from official Beijing as to the implementation of this contract and the willingness of the Chinese side to continue its realisation,” a statement on the ministry’s website said.
It cited Zhang as saying that a Chinese delegation would visit Kiev “in the near future” for the “next round of negotiations with the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine on the implementation of this contract.”
A press officer at the Chinese embassy in Kiev said on Thursday that he was unable to immediately confirm Zhang’s remarks quoted in the Ukrainian statement.
The Russian media reports, citing a Ukrainian parliament official, said China had lodged a case against Ukraine at the London Court of International Arbitration.
The mainland’s 21st Century Business Herald reported on Wednesday that a commerce attache at the Chinese embassy described the situation as “complicated” and “not as serious” as the Russian media reported.
The anonymous diplomat did not reveal further details of the implementation of the loan-for-grain contract, adding that the embassy had not received any request for assistance from China Exim Bank.
In March, the Worldwide News Ukraine news agency reported the 2012 loan contract stipulated the supply of Ukrainian grain over 15 years. The annual volume of grain exports would vary but would not exceed six million tonnes a year.