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China to develop strategic infrastructure: Sri Lanka PM

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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena shaking palms with China’s President Xi Jinping earlier than a gathering in Beijing.
| Photo Credit: AFP

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister mentioned on March 27 that China has pledged to develop the island nation’s strategic deep sea port and the capital’s airport after talks together with his counterpart in Beijing.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena mentioned China — the island’s greatest bilateral creditor — would “assist” Sri Lanka’s restructuring of exterior debt, a key situation to sustaining a $2.9 billion IMF bailout.

Beijing’s place on debt restructuring has not been made public, however Sri Lankan officers have mentioned China was reluctant to take a haircut on its loans however may prolong the tenure and alter rates of interest.

Sri Lanka in 2022 ran out of international change to finance important imports and declared a sovereign default on its $46 billion international debt.

Months of protests pressured then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa out of workplace.

Mr. Gunawardena’s workplace mentioned Premier Li Qiang had promised China would “assist Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process continuously and help Sri Lanka to develop its economy”.

Mr. Gunawardena mentioned Beijing had provided “assistance to develop” Colombo International Airport and Hambantota port, the assertion added, with out giving additional particulars.

A Japanese-funded enlargement of Colombo airport had been on maintain since Sri Lanka’s sovereign debt default.

The southern sea port of Hambantota was handed to a Chinese state-owned firm in 2017 on a 99-year lease for $1.12 billion, sparking safety issues in Beijing’s regional rival India.

India and the U.S. are each involved {that a} Chinese foothold at Hambantota, on the island’s southern coast, may increase its naval benefit within the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka has insisted its ports won’t be used for any navy functions, however New Delhi has objected to Chinese analysis vessels calling at Hambantota fearing that they may very well be used for espionage.

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