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Sri Lanka PM courts increased infrastructure investment from China: Xinhua

Discussion in 'Central & South Asia' started by CAD, May 16, 2017.

  1. CAD


    May 9, 2017
    +0 / 662 / -0
    May 16 Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday that he welcomed increased Chinese investment in Sri Lanka's major infrastructure projects, Chinese state media said.

    (The real question is this, Is India isolated now? I guess, it is) :lol::rofl:

    China signed a deal with Sri Lanka late last year to further develop the strategic port of Hambantota and build a huge industrial zone nearby, a key part of Xi's signature economic and foreign policy to create a modern-day "Silk Road" across Asia, Europe and Africa.

    But amid concern over increasing Chinese investment, hundreds of Sri Lankans clashed with police at the industrial zone's opening in January.

    Meeting Xi in Beijing after attending China's Belt and Road Forum on Sunday and Monday, Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka was willing to work with China to "successfully push forward" the Hambantota and Colombo Port City projects, according to official Chinese news agency Xinhua.

    Xi said the construction of a China-Sri Lanka free trade zone would prove a key starting point in promoting fair and sustainable development in bilateral trade, accelerate ease of investment and realise the unimpeded flow of trade and capital.

    Major projects with Sri Lanka should act as precursors for driving infrastructure connectivity and maritime and aviation cooperation, Xi added, according to Xinhua's report.

    Sri Lanka aims to finalise a free trade agreement with China this year, their 65th anniversary year of trade relations. (Reporting by Philip Wen; Editing by Nick Macfie)

    Source: uk.reuters
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  2. Rajaraja Chola

    Rajaraja Chola BANNED

    Sep 5, 2010
    +3 / 10,224 / -6
    Sri Lankans have no other option. No other country will be now willing to buy debt and invest in 2 ports Chinese have invested. Why would they? So they have to ask CHinese to invest and get more returns over a period of few decades...

    And why exactly Pakistanis are cheerleading? Its not a surprise that you guys cant do much other than cheerleading anyway... we saw it in 70's and now in 2016's.........
  3. Panzerkampf

    Panzerkampf BANNED

    New Recruit

    May 15, 2017
    +0 / 90 / -1
    As long as they humiliate and kick China in public by blocking its submarines, we have no problem.:)
  4. Hindustani78

    Hindustani78 ELITE MEMBER

    Apr 8, 2014
    +5 / 12,650 / -41

    Sri Lanka, which attended the just concluded Belt and Road Forum here, has backed India’s concern over the Kashmir issue, saying it is difficult for New Delhi to accept the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it goes through the “heart of Indian interests”.

    India, which skipped the high-profile meeting, would have joined “very happily” in the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative of China, said Sarath Amanugama, Sri Lanka’s Minister on Special Assignment.

    “Unfortunately, the issue is going through the heart of Indian interests. If it is some uncontested region, India would have negotiated its way out. Here especially the Kashmir issue getting dragged into it, makes it difficult for India to be flexible,” Mr. Amanugama, who accompanied Lankan Prime Minister Wickramasinghe to the two-day forum in Beijing, told PTI.

    He said India, China and Sri Lanka were very much part of the ancient Silk Road route as the Chinese Buddhist scholars like Faxian visited both India and Sri Lanka leading to big discoveries of Buddhist relics in the island nation.

    “(Chinese) President Xi Jinping has emphasised connectivity. These countries were connected many centuries ago. This will link up these countries on certain rational basis. Once the regional problems are resolved, then India has to play big role in the initiative,” he said, adding that India anyway has to play big role “because you cannot think of a belt and road without going over and close to India.”

    India skipped the meeting due to its sovereignty concerns over the USD 50 billion CPEC, which goes through Azad Kashmir. The two-day conference in Beijing brought together leaders from 29 countries.

    Besides Mr. Wickramasinghe, the summit was attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several other leaders, heads of UN, World Bank and IMF.

    Mr. Wickaramasinghe, who arrived in Beijing a day after he hosted Prime Minister Narandra Modi in Sri Lanka, had a low-key presence at the high-profile summit.

    While Mr. Sharif and many other leaders spoke at the inaugural ceremony, the Sri Lankan leader reportedly took part in the discussions in the roundtable meeting yesterday.

    Security concerns
    Mr. Amunagama said that Sri Lanka will not permit any foreign military operations in its port by any country including China, in an effort to reassure India’s security concerns over Chinese military activity.

    Confirming reports that recent Chinese requests for docking of its submarines was declined, he said, “we denied the permission.”

    “Lanka’s position is that our harbours and ports are for commercial operations. All other countries have no strategic interests. We are equidistant from everyone,” he said.

    Earlier, the problem came because a Chinese submarine was allowed to be docked in Colombo harbour by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2014 which sparked protests from India.

    “China, India, US and all other countries, they cannot come into our territorial waters without the consent of the Sri Lankan government,” Mr. Amanugama said.

    Even the Hambantota harbour which Sri Lanka plans to hand over to China under debt equity scheme will function under Sri Lankan Port Authority (SLPA).

    He said in the agreement currently being finalised to give 80 per cent stake for Chinese shipping company, it will be allowed to operate inside the harbour but all the outside operations will be carried out SLPA.

    The harbour master who permits the ship movement in the harbour will be an SAPA employee, he said.

    Allaying India’s concerns, he said Sri Lanka is taking assistance from the Indian Navy to maintain maritime security including tracking submarines.

    India is also providing patrol boats, he said.

    About Hambantota port, he said, it is entirely a commercial operation. “It was constructed with Chinese assistance costing about USD 1.4 billion. It was established during the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa,” he said.

    “But we had an extended debt. Sri Lanka is facing a problem of debt repayment,” he said, defending Sri Lanka opting for debt swap for harbour.

    Sri Lanka has an estimated debt of USD eight billion to China. The loans were taken for different mega projects.

    “So last year we raised it with Premier Li Keqiang. At first we asked for a debt relief, either to write it off or to reschedule payment. But the Premier said it is not possible because they have lent money to several other countries. We cannot write it off to create precedent,” he said.

    “But suggested why don’t you convert into equity by forming a joint venture company. It will be registered in Sri Lanka and will be Sri Lankan company. Chinse side will convert that into equity. Sri Lanka doesn’t have to repay,” he said, adding that it was a “win win situation”.


    Faxian visited India in the early fifth century. He is said to have walked all the way from China across icy desert and rugged mountain passes. He entered India from the northwest and reached Pataliputra. He took back with him Buddhist texts and images sacred to Buddhism.

    Faxian's visit to India occurred during the reign of Chandragupta II 399 and 414 A.D . He is also renowned for his pilgrimage to Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha (modern Nepal).