China ranked first among the Group of 20 (G20) members in terms of debt deferral amounts under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for the poorest countries, Finance Minister Liu Kun said.

The country's official bilateral creditors, the China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of China, have suspended a total of 1.353 billion U.S. dollars of debt service payments, benefiting 23 countries, Liu said in an interview published Friday on the ministry's website.

The China Development Bank, as a commercial creditor, has signed agreements with DSSI beneficiaries involving 748 million dollars by the end of September, Liu said.

The G20 launched the DSSI in April to address the short-term liquidity needs of low-income countries as the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a great blow to the global economy and added to the risks of debt vulnerabilities.

The debt service payments due from May 1 to the end of the year owed by the most impoverished countries will be suspended, according to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting in April.

The debt suspension was extended by another six months until June 30, 2021, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors decided in October.