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China hopes Lanka will resolve China port city project

Concerned over Sri Lanka's decision to temporarily suspend the controversial USD 1.5 billion Chinese port city project in Colombo, a wary China on Thursday hoped the country's new government would properly resolve the issue keeping in mind the bilateral friendly relations.



Beijing: Concerned over Sri Lanka's decision to temporarily suspend the controversial USD 1.5 billion Chinese port city project in Colombo, a wary China on Thursday hoped the country's new government would properly resolve the issue keeping in mind the bilateral friendly relations.

"China understands and respects the efforts made by the new Sri Lankan government to improve the investment environment," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said while replying to a question on the decision.

"China believes that the Sri Lankan side will properly resolve relevant problems and preserve Chinese companies' confidence to invest in Sri Lanka in the overall interests of China-Sri Lanka friendliness and the fundamental interests of Sri Lanka's national development," she said.

Colombo's decision came after Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during his visit here on February 27 stated that his government will review all investments, including the USD five billion Chinese investments, made in the island nation during the previous regime of Mahenda Rajapaksa and will inform Beijing in this regard.

The Colombo Port City project, expected to play a key role in China's ambitious 'Maritime Silk Road' project in India's backyard, is being seen as the single largest private sector development ever in the island.

Samaraweera also has also expressed concern over the high interest charged by China for its loans to the island and said the new government will not allow Chinese submarines to dock in its ports as happened twice last year.

Samaraweera had stated that Sri Lanka welcomes Chinese companies' investment and development in Sri Lanka and will keep in close contact with the Chinese side on the review result of China-related cooperation projects, Hua said.

"The review conducted by the Sri Lankan side, which is not exclusive to China's cooperation projects in Sri Lanka, aims to create a better investment environment," Hua said referring to his comments.

"The Sri Lankan side will keep in close contact with the Chinese side on the review result of China-related cooperation projects," she said.

In September last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping had inaugurated the construction of the project, part of China's attempt to restore its ancient prestige and historical links along the maritime route through Southeast and South Asia.

Sri Lanka's decision to temporarily suspend the project came ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled visit to the country from March 13.

From Zee News

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