Hambantota port not a ‘debt lure’ by China: Sri Lanka President

2020/10 09 16:10

By: PTI | Colombo |

Up to date: October 9, 2020 9:47:01 pm


Sri lanka, Sri lanka protest, China on Sri lanka Protest, China news, latest news, Sri Lanka Hambantota protest, Hambantota Port protest, Sri Lank Hambantotoa protest, latest news, India news, National news, India newsHambantota port. (File)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday rejected issues that China has lured Sri Lanka right into a “debt lure” by financing the strategic southern port of Hambantota and stated the mission has an enormous potential for producing revenue and employment alternatives.

Rajapaksa stated this after holding talks with a high-powered Chinese language delegation led by ruling Communist Celebration Politburo member Yang Jiechi.

Yang, China’s former overseas minister, is the primary prime rating Chinese language official to journey to the South Asian area for the reason that outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The go to comes amid the island nation struggling to spice up its overseas reserves after its financial system was hit onerous by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the course of the high-level talks, the 2 sides agreed to renew talks on a Free Commerce Settlement (FTA) and expedite work on the proposed Hambantota industrial zone.

Yang additionally assured that China will firmly stand with Sri Lanka to guard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity at worldwide fora, together with the UN Human Rights Council and proceed to help the nation in its improvement actions.

Rajapaksa expressed satisfaction over the present state of Sino-Sri Lanka relations and stated China has been a long-standing pal who supported Sri Lanka no matter the federal government in energy.

“China extensively supported us to defeat terrorism. Bilateral relations reached the next stage following the top of the armed battle,” he stated, referring to the almost 30-year bloody battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was combating for a separate homeland in Northeastern Sri Lanka.

“China contributed to a lot of large-scale infrastructure improvement tasks. Hambantota Port, the Port Metropolis mission, Southern Expressway are a few of them,” he stated.

Rajapaksa stated that establishing a port in Hambantota was an concept of Sri Lanka and never China’s.

“We had been satisfied that it will be a mission with an enormous potential for producing revenue and employment alternatives. China supplied to fund it. Many geo-political evaluation interprets this mission as a “debt lure’ arrange by China to realize management over Sri Lankan affairs. I wish to show that it’s not the case and that this large-scale mission will assist enhance the residing requirements of the individuals,” the president stated.

China is likely one of the largest buyers in varied infrastructure tasks in Sri Lanka. However there was criticism, each regionally and internationally, and rising issues that China has lured Sri Lanka right into a debt lure.

The earlier Maithripala Sirisena authorities handed over Hambantota port to a state-run Chinese language agency in 2017 for a 99 years’ lease as a debt swap amounting to USD 1.2 billion.

The Chinese language delegation’s go to assumes significance as Sri Lanka is anticipating to obtain the second tranche of a USD 1.2 billion syndicated Chinese language mortgage. The island nation acquired the primary trance of USD 500 million in March.

The Sri Lankan authorities had stated that the anticipated Panda (Chinese language) bonds and the syndicated Chinese language mortgage will strengthen the nation’s steadiness of funds within the backdrop of the nation’s credit standing downgrade by Moody’s final week.

Credit score rankings company Moody’s downgraded Lanka’s sovereign credit standing by two notches, saying the South Asian nation could be hard-pressed to safe funding to service its enormous overseas debt.

Sri Lanka was pushed down from “B2” (excessive credit score threat) to “Caa1” (very excessive credit score threat), because the coronavirus pandemic compounded the financial woes of the nation. Sri Lanka’s financial system, particularly the tourism sector, has been hit onerous since final 12 months – initially by the Easter Sunday assaults, which killed over 250 individuals and later by the continued coronavirus pandemic.

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