The Maldives is aiming at attracting one million Chinese tourists per year in the next five years says the country’s Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer. Speaking at a forum on China-Maldives Tourism Cooperation on Tuesday, Zameer said: “The forum is an important step in efforts to increase the number of Chinese tourists,” he asserted.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, told parliament on Wednesday, that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) would launch a probe into the New York Times allegation that the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) had contributed US$ .7.6 million to the 2015 election fund of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But political observers wonder what happened to the investigation launched into a similar complaint made in July 2015?
The spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Lu Kang, told the media here on Tuesday that US media reports about China putting Sri Lanka into a debt trap are “fake news.” “Such reports seriously distort the facts, which are either irresponsible or under the orders of people with ulterior motives. We hope that the relevant media will not be keen on fake news,” he said.
The first China-South Asia Cooperation Forum (CSACF) which was held on June 14 and 15 at Fuxian Lake in the Yunnan Province of China was on the theme: “Closer Regional Cooperation for Inclusive Development”. The holding of the forum by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other state institutions signaled that China is now looking at South Asia not just as a congeries of different countries unrelated to each other except notionally as belonging to a recognizable geographical region, but as a compact unit, writes P.K.Balachandran.
Following a recent New York Times report that revealed a $7.6-million money transfer from a Chinese firm to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign aides during the 2015 presidential election, the ex-leader has dismissed the report as “a smear campaign”. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “No contribution was made by China Harbour Co to my 2015 presidential election campaign,” and said the report was “intentionally vague”.
When in India, the Chinese happily integrated themselves into the local culture by giving themselves Indian names. For example, the India head of a mobile gadget giant company likes to be called Vivek – so much so that it’s his name on LinkedIn too! “I was amused by this pragmatism of the Chinese. In addition to convenience, it also sounds like a good business strategy to enter into non-English speaking markets,” writes Aishita Shukla in the the India-China Chronicle .
Lanka’s Central Bank raised alarm about Chinese payments for Rajapaksa poll campaign in 2015: Report
Sri Lankan Police have been asked to revive an investigation into alleged Chinese funding of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election bid following a New York Times report that $7.6 million was paid through the Standard Chartered Bank.
Official sources told ECONOMYNEXT that it was the Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit which initially raised the alarm and flagged their concerns about CHEC payments in 2015.With the huge work load of investigations, the Chinese funding investigation appeared to have been overshadowed by other high profile cases till it was highlighted by the NYT.
China’s Confucius Institutes (CIs) and Confucius Centers (CCs) found across the globe, are undoubtedly the emerging giant’s “soft power instruments”. They are meant to serve the ever expanding political, economic and strategic interests of Beijing in an unobtrusive way.
But in the process of doing so, they have encountered resistance in several countries. Therefore, the authorities in China have of late been changing the goals and styles of functioning of the CIs to accord with ground realities, writes P.K.Balachandran in South Asian Monitor.
Sri Lanka will move its southern naval headquarters to the Hambantota port which is leased to a state-run Chinese firm under a billion-dollar deal, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said. Wickremesinghe has made it clear in his talks with Chinese leaders that Hambantota port will not be allowed to be used for any military purposes, his office said in a statement dispelling reports that Beijing could get a military foothold there ,Economynext reports.
The Chief Minister of the Eastern Indian state of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee cancelled her visit to China on the petty political ground that Chinese leaders “of the appropriate level” were not going to meet her. She had meetings fixed with heads of Chinese companies and was to meet potential investors, but she hs willfully squandered these opportunities, writes Subir Bhoumik in South Asian Monitor.