Yi Xianliang, in an opinion article sent to the media, said that he had noted that Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of the State of the United States, recently claimed in Congress that unsustainable debt burdens for Sri Lanka were made out of Chinese non-concessional loans.
“It is completely unfounded statement. Instead, she stated that the United States was the largest grant provider of assistance to Sri Lanka. In fact, most of Chinese loans to Sri Lanka are concessional, with a fixed rate of 2.0%, and Chinese Government has to provide a large amount of financial subsidies on interest payment. China’s concessional loans support projects including hydro-projects, power plants, roads, railways, ports, airports and other infrastructure building, playing an important role for the economic and social development of Sri Lanka,” he said.
The Ambassador said that as a developing country, China has done its utmost to help developing countries through bilateral cooperation and South-South cooperation mechanisms.
He said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China’s total assistance to Sri Lanka has amounted to more than CNY 10 billions (Rs.220 billion).
From 2014 to 2017, China offered CNY 1.5 billion (Rs.33 billion) as aid given gratis to Sri Lanka, and China will offer CNY 2 billion (Rs.47 billion) to Sri Lanka from 2018 to 2020.
“The Chinese granted projects, such as Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Nelum Pokuna Theater, Kidney disease hospital, Cancer funds etc., serve Sri Lanka society and public well and for sure, it is obvious to all,” he said.
The Chinese Ambassador also said that China will always respects Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and internal affairs, offering aid given gratis without any attached political conditions, only requiring it to be used for people’s livelihood and benefit the general public as much as possible.
“According to the United Nations resolution, developed countries are urged to donate their 0.7% of GDP on providing assistance to developing countries. In fact, most countries, except some European countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, did not fulfill their obligations. Chinese people are most against those who are rich but not benevolent, and Chinese culture promotes kindness, harmony and relief,” he said.
The Ambassador said that China will continue to do what it can and what it promises, in helping developing countries including Sri Lanka, in the way of action rather than “ Carrots plus Sticks” or talking approach. (Colombo Gazette)