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China eager on extending China-Myanmar Economic Corridor to Sri Lanka 


Special envoy and state councillor Shen Yiqin with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on Monday.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

China is “prioritising” the extension of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) to Sri Lanka, the nation’s Special Envoy instructed President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday, in a sign that China is seeking to scale up the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) venture in South Asia.  

Paying a courtesy name on the Sri Lankan President, Special envoy of the Chinese President, state councillor Shen Yiqin, stated China is prioritising the extension of the Corridor to the island nation, in keeping with a press assertion issued by Mr. Wickremesinghe’s workplace on Monday. “Additionally, both parties agreed to expedite the implementation of the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement,” the assertion stated.   

The CMEC is the latest of the six land corridors below the BRI, and has assumed prominence instead of the Bangladesh China India Myanmar (BCIM) hall which has largely stalled. India and Bhutan are the one international locations in South Asia which have stayed out of the BRI and China’s more moderen Global Development Initiative, which Sri Lanka has additionally backed. Mr. Wickremesinghe famous that international locations akin to Sri Lanka, that are members within the BRI, “are prepared to embark on the second phase of the initiative, which is expected to make a more substantial economic contribution.” 

Ms. Shen is in Sri Lanka after collaborating in President Mohamed Muizzu’s inaugural ceremony in neighbouring Maldives on November 17. Her go to comes a month after President Wickremesinghe met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, on the sidelines of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. A joint assertion issued by the 2 governments on the time stated Sri Lanka reiterated it might “continue to actively participate” within the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China.  

In Monday’s assembly, President Wickremesinghe “expressed gratitude for China’s support to Sri Lanka, notably acknowledging their assistance in the country’s debt restructuring programme,” his workplace stated.  

Sri Lanka is making an attempt to finalise a debt remedy plan with its official collectors, so it could obtain the second tranche of the International Monetary Fund’s almost $ 3 billion-package for financial restoration, following final 12 months’s disaster. China has determined to remain out of the official collectors’ platform and stays an observer in deliberations with India and Paris Club members, together with Japan, who’ve sought creditor parity. Last month, the IMF stated that securing an settlement with official collectors is a “critical next step” for Sri Lanka.   

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