Colombo, Nov 6 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, who returned to the island on Sunday after an official visit to India, is to seek a meeting with China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang this week over the envoy’s sudden outburst last week.
Sources at the Foreign Ministry said that Samaraweera is to discuss the contents of the remarks made by Xianliang to the media on Tuesday where he criticized Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and rejected allegations that Chinese loans given to the country were expensive.
Sources said that the Foreign Minister would look to sort out all issues with the Chinese envoy and discuss matters of concern.
“China has helped us and we are concerned at the remarks made by the Chinese Ambassador. He has broken his diplomatic norms by making certain derogatory statements against the government and the Foreign Minister will be taking up these issues with him at the meeting,” a Ministry source said.
He added that the matter is likely to be sorted out between both parties.
In a rare press conference with selected journalists, last week, Xianliang said that it was unfair for Sri Lanka to term loans given by China’s EXIM Bank as ‘expensive’ and questioned the government as to why it had sought fresh loans from China if the interest rates were ‘too high’.
“I have noted that some media and ministers have termed these loans as expensive. As you know we maintain a regular interest rate of 2 percent, not only for Sri Lanka,” he said.
“I have already spoken to Ravi Karunanayake, Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister. I know he has criticized this issue many times, publicly. All the Chinese business people complain to the Chinese government as to why loans are given to other countries at 2 percent. For them it is atleast 5 percent. So this is really unfair for Sri Lanka to call these rates expensive,” the Ambassador said.