President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has sought to renegotiate the Hambantota Port deal with China.
In an interview with BharatShakti.in and SNI the President said that the Hambantota Port deal was a mistake.
The former Government signed a 99 year lease agreement with China on the Port.
However, Rajapaksa said that he will request China to agree to renegotiate the agreement.
“….even though China is a good friend of ours and we need their assistance to develop, I’m not afraid to say that was a mistake. I will request them to renegotiate and come with a better (deal) to assist us. Today the people are not happy on that deal, we can think of one year, two years, five years, we have to think of the future, what will happen? So giving a small land for investment is a different thing. To develop a hotel or a commercial property is not a problem, that’s not an issue. The strategically important, economically important harbour, giving that is not acceptable. That we should have control. We have to renegotiate. Giving a terminal for an operation is a different thing, giving some location to build a hotel is different, not the control over a very important place, it is not acceptable. So that is my position,” the President said.
Rajapaksa said that he wants to work with China but will not get involved in military and geopolitical rivalry.
“The other thing that I want to tell the world powers like India, Singapore, Japan, Australia, you know, the reality is they are scared of Chinese involvement, that’s a reality. But in our point of view it is commercial. We are a small country and we want foreign investment to improve our economy. So I invite India, Singapore, Japan and Australia to come and invest here. Don’t allow only China to invest. These Governments must encourage their private companies to come and invest, come and help us. Without leaving it to one country and then grumbling,” he said.
He also requested the Tamil diaspora to work with the Government to develop the country and help the people.