The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said in a statement on Saturday, that the New York Times article of June 25 saying that the Chinese company which built the Hambantota port had given US$ 7.6 million to the 2015 election fund of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa was full of falsehood. “It was full of political prejudice and completely inconsistent with the fact,” the statement asserted.
At the 2018 conference of China’s Confucius Institutes and Centers in Asia held in Colombo earlier in June, participants from some countries, including host Sri Lanka, raised the issue of the “real purpose” of the CIs and CCs and, being friends of China, suggested measures to clear people’s doubts and make them more locally useful. Delegates from the headquarters in China assured that the complexion of the CIs has been changing and will change in the future in response to local needs, reports P.K.Balachandran in DailyFT.
The Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes and Centers in Asia met here on Wednesday to evaluate the work done so far and chalk out plans for a brighter future. The 2018 Conference of Partial Confucius Institutes in Asia held at the BMICH and the Universities of Colombo and Kalaniya, took stock of the working of the Confucius Institutes (CIs) in the Asian region, identified lacunae in their functioning, and chalked out plans for the future in the light of the experience gained thus far.
India and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have told the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that his government’s decision to award to a Chinese company a contract to build 40,000 houses for war-displaced people in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces is flawed, impractical and unsuited to the climate and culture of the area.
The Maldives and China have always enjoyed a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship, which has reached to a historic level over the past few years, said the Vice President of the NGO, Maldives China Trade and Cultural Organization (MCTCO) Midhuam Saud. He told Xinhua in a recent interview that in the future, “with sky being the limit”, infinite possibilities lie in cooperation between the two countries.
The final tranche of US$ 584 million which China had to pay for taking the Hambantota Port on lease for 99 years was released by the China Merchant Port Holdings Limited (CM Port) on Wednesday. The cheque for the said amount was handed over to the Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Dr.Parakrama Dissanayake, by the Chief Representative of China Merchant Group in Sri Lanka, Ray Ren in the presence of senior port officials and representatives of CM Port. This third final tranche amounting to US$ 584,194,800 follows the first and second tranches released in December last year and January 2018. The amounts were US$ 292 million and US $ 97 million respectively. With this payment CM Port fulfills the US $ 976 million investment value of the port in terms of the Concession Agreement.
At the very first Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit which it was attending as a full member, India stood out by being the only country in the eight member group, to refuse to endorse China’s prestigious global connectivity project – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But while rejecting the BRI in toto because it violated India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Gilgit-Baltistan area of Pakistan-held Kashmir, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that his country is interested in promoting regional connectivity and is committed to making the SCO summit a success. Observers wonder how India plans to marry its total rejection of the BRI with its pledge to cooperate in SCO’s connectivity projects, points out P.K.Balachandran in South Asian Monitor.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has suggested to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that China and India should set up a new bilateral trade target of US$ 100 billion by 2020, as Beijing is looking at importing non-Basmati rice as well as sugar to address the huge trade deficit.The India-China bilateral trade reached USD 84.44 billion last year, according to data of the Chinese General Administration of Customs in March.
India was the only country in the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on June 10 which refused to endorse China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for which Beijing has signed pacts with nearly 80 countries and international organisations.A declaration issued at the end of the two-day summit of the SCO said Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have reaffirmed their support for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But India does not find mention. In India’s view the BRI has not recognized its territorial integrity and sovereignty in so far as the US$ 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is concerned.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday floated the concept of SECURE (‘S’ for security for citizens, ‘E’ for economic development, ‘C’ for connectivity in the region, ‘U’ for unity, ‘R’ for respect of sovereignty and integrity, and ‘E for environment protection), at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held here on June 9 and 10. Connectivity with the neighborhood and in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) region is India’s priority Modi said. India is committed to extending “full cooperation for a successful outcome of the Summit,” he added.