Colombo, Dec 11 (NIA) – Sri Lanka is looking forward to ‘fantastic relations’ with China next year as the island country hopes to attract Chinese investments worth 8 billion dollars, Deputy Foreign Minister, Harsha De Silva said.
China is one Sri Lanka’s largest development partners, and has completed infrastructure construction projects worth 15.5 billion dollars by the end of 2015.
Now the government says that with all past misunderstandings cleared between the two nations, they hope to attract more investments which would help develop the island country.
“There were some misunderstandings over certain projects which have now all been cleared. Other than the Port City project which is a massive investment, the past government only took loans from China. However this government has been successful in getting in investments which would benefit the country,” De Silva said.
Stressing that China and Sri Lanka have been traditional friends, De Silva denied reports that the government of President Maithripala Sirisena faced strained ties with China, especially after the recent outburst by China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, against the government ‘unthankful’ attitude towards the Chinese.
“China is our very close friend and aide,” he said. “Our relations with China had never deteriorated. Infact after this government was elected to power, relations have only been further strengthened,” he added.
The government recently announced that under the first phase of its Southern Development project, starting in January 2017, the government was informed that the Chinese were coming in with investments in an LNG power plant, a refinery, a cement factory and a dockyard totaling a massive 8 billion US dollars.
President Maithripala Sirisena suspended most of the Chinese infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, including the Port City deal, allegedly because the proper procedure had not been followed, or costs had been inflated under former President Mahinda Rajapakse.
However, faced with a debt and balance-of-payments crisis, the new government eventually allowed all the projects to go ahead.