Sri Lanka says Hambantota Port is not a ‘debt trap’

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Sri Lanka says the Hambantota Port is not a ‘debt trap’ nor can it be used for military purposes by China.

“If anybody is saying that the Chinese government gave its money to put Sri Lanka into a ‘debt trap’, I don’t agree with that. It’s an absolutely wrong conclusion,” Karunasena Kodituwakku, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China, told CGTN’s The Point.

His comments came amid accusations from critics who said China is setting a “debt trap” for Sri Lanka with its southern port of Hambantota. The first phase of the Port’s construction was finished in 2010, with 85 percent of its cost funded by China.

Facing severe losses and a heavy debt burden, Sri Lanka entered into a 99-year lease agreement with China Merchant Ports Holdings (CMPH) to revitalize the Port. The handover was made last December.

“Of course, we have difficulties paying back… but I must say that the Chinese government assisted the government of Sri Lanka to build this project. It is up to the government of Sri Lanka to build on the basis of feasibility studies, then to make business decisions. The Chinese government (has) never asked to hand over the Port to the Chinese government or to the Chinese venture. It was a proposal that came from Sri Lanka, asking partnership from China,” he added.

As a response to media concerns that China is “militarizing” the Port, Kodituwakku pointed out that “in Sri Lanka’s case, from the very beginning, we have very clearly indicated to the Chinese side, it’s only an economic venture.” He said Sri Lanka does not allow anybody to interfere with the defense affairs of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka decided to shift a naval base to Hambantota Port in July. Kodituwakku explained, “The security of Port Hambantota, the security of territorial coverage of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, is an entire matter for Sri Lankan security forces. China never asks us. We never offered it.”

Kodituwakku remains optimistic over the long-term prospects of the Port and the future of Sri Lanka’s role in an emerging Asia.

“Now Asia is becoming the most important part of the world in global development. The Indian Ocean is a center for Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East, so the future potential in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka being the center in the Indian Ocean, is huge,” he emphasized. (Colombo Gazette)

2 COMMENTS

  1. After independent of Ceylon (Sri lanka ) in 1948 our strategic development is concern that Hambantota Harbour, Mattala international airport has created new Economy and Trade venture by FDI for People’s republic of China. We have establish new City in grater south of Island by PRC projects being initiated by MR government .this ours interest of national development of sustsnsbility.
    This projects has no Military link with PRC…. by MR governance 2005 to 2015 January 8th?
    It was ours request of such great project not that force by PRC .
    There is no debt trap by PRC since 1957 Diplomat Relationship with Sri lanka by China.

  2. India created and funded the ruthless terrorism in Sri Lanka; later on the West hijacked it through Tamil diaspora. Under the Indian and the Western influences parents did not want to travel in the same bus, because bombs were going off frequently and parents did not want both die by a bomb-blast. They made sure that one of them is alive to take care of their children. China helped to eliminate the ruthless terrorism and invested in infrastructure projects. Indians were not even capable to control the Tamil armed group which they created. India or the West could not invest in Sri Lanka to build projects as Hambantota Port or Port City; but have the capability to create bogus Facebook profiles for propaganda to undermine China’s efforts as ‘debt trap.’ Sri Lanka can not become like Singapore, if it continues non alliance policy. China has money, whether you like it or not you have to take China’s side to prosper. The West had money, so Singapore took the side of the West, and became successful.

    Over the past decade, China has become a major player in global investment and finance. This has been made possible due to strong backing from the Chinese government. China’s role in global finance has been increased by establishment of the multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the Silk Road investment funds. Additionally, through the Belt and Road initiative, the Chinese government has renewed its support for outbound investment. The Chinese people’s hard work and dedication, China has become a leading lender and builder of infrastructure projects in Africa. Extraordinarily savings have empowered China to reach out to invest in various infrastructure projects in developing countries to create jobs, in order eliminate poverty. Over the past decade China has helped Africa with Chinese people’s hard earned money more than the Australian government has helped its Aboriginal people. Technically, Australia belongs to Aboriginal people, but the people who invaded Australia in 1788 treating them as beggars.

    The West’s dominant power is dreading, and its dominant power will be relegated in decades. The West’s ability to conquer resourceful countries and undermine developing countries through human development strategy is failing. An appropriate finale; perhaps, to a calamitous campaign during the recent elections that did no justice to the people who had hoped that their leaders could turn things around. After 700 years of the Western dominant, the East has an opportunity to lead the world. It has been a long time coming and, contrary to all the rhetoric that the Western countries’ fall will push this world into a chaos. The Chinese people’s hard work, dedication and their extraordinarily savings have empowered China to reach out to invest in various infrastructure projects all around the world. The prominence of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cannot be overlooked nor underestimated. The Dragon’s gigantic reach across the world linking entire continents has opened vast opportunities for trade and infrastructure which will help the entire world to prosper.

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