China insists loans are not causing problems for Sri Lanka

China has again rejected the opinion that China is “becoming a supplier of political instability” and sets a “debt-trap” for Sri Lanka and other countries.

Zeng Rong, Spokesman at the Chinese Embassy in the UK was reacting to comments in an editorial on the FT newspaper in London titled “ Sri Lanka turmoil points to China’s increasing role” (November 16) which stated that China is “becoming a supplier of political instability” and sets a “debt-trap” for Sri Lanka and other countries.

Rong said that China and Sri Lanka have long been friendly neighbours that always support each other in their major and core interests and the co-operation between the two countries is win-win and mutually beneficial.

“Such co-operation has delivered tangible benefit to the people of Sri Lanka. By the end of 2017, Chinese companies had completed more than $15bn worth of infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka in transportation, water, electricity, ports and other fields, giving a strong boost to its economic development,” Rong said.

Rong also said that the Puttalam Power Station provided about 40 per cent of the nation’s electricity supply, reducing the power price by 25 per cent.

He says the completion of Colombo-Katunayake Expressway has brought great convenience to travellers and contributed to local tourism.

“The Colombo International Container Terminal, a China-Sri Lanka joint venture, enhanced the overall operational capacity of the Port of Colombo. According to the Port Connectivity Index compiled by Drewry (UK based shipping and maritime consultancy), the Port of Colombo ranked 13th in the world and number one in South Asia in 2017. The Colombo Port City under construction and the Hambantota Port and Industrial Zone are expected to become the new powerful engines for Sri Lanka’s economic take-off,” he added.

Furthermore, he said China-Sri Lanka pragmatic co-operation has created more than 100,000 jobs for Sri Lanka and trained tens of thousands of technical and management personnel. China is not competing with any country to seek so-called regional dominance.

Rong says China-Sri Lanka co-operation is equal and mutually beneficial and is not targeting any third party or setting a “debt trap”.

The spokesman said that by 2017, China’s loans to Sri Lanka accounted for only about 10 per cent in Sri-Lanka’s foreign debts, while Japan accounts for 12 per cent, and the Asian Development Bank 14 per cent and so it is not tenable to claim that China’s loans are causing problems for Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)


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