The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had said on Thursday that African countries should be careful not to forfeit their sovereignty when they accept loans from China.
Tillerson, who is on his first diplomatic trip to the continent, also said Chinese investments “do not bring significant job creation locally”.
He further criticised how Beijing structured loans to African governments.
Reacting, Zhao, at a news briefing in Abuja, said the Chinese loans to Africa were aimed at implementing major China-Africa cooperation projects and promoting sustainable development in the continent.
He explained that African countries had begun accessing the loans and implementing planned projects.
“African people should know the role the Chinese loans play in your economy. That is the most important thing.
“Except the Chinese Government, which other government provides loans to African countries without critical conditions? No Western country does that.
“How can they say they suspect Chinese loans. It is ridiculous. Without funds, how can you develop a country?
“At the beginning of our opening up to the world, 30 or 40 years ago, we opened our doors to other countries and we borrowed from other countries,” Zhao said.
The envoy added that China-Africa relations allowed for win-win benefits for both parties.