PM says will sign Hambantota port deal with China today

29 July 2017 12:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Sri Lanka to sign deal after addressing security concerns

Prime Minister says deal will help ease debt burden

Marxist JVP ask for public consultation before signing the deal 

Sri Lanka will finally sign a US$1.1 billion deal today to lease the southern Hambantota port to China, after several months of delay caused by local protests and claims by opposing politicians that this would threaten national security.


Located near the main shipping route from Asia to Europe and likely to play a key role in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, the Hambantota port has been mired in controversy since state-run China Merchants Port Holdings, that built it for US$1.5 billion, signed an agreement taking an 80 percent stake.


The pact signed last year sparked widespread public anger as Chinese control of the port, which included a plan for a 99-year lease of 15,000 acres (23 sq miles) to develop an industrial zone next door, raised fears the port could be used for Chinese naval vessels.


To help ease these concerns, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet approved earlier this week a revised deal to cut the Chinese firm’s stake to 70 percent and assured the port would not be used for military purposes. “We will sign the Hambantota agreement tomorrow. We are giving the country a better deal without any implications on security,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the United National Party, told reporters yesterday.


The deal will also help Sri Lanka manage its foreign debt better, he added. Sri Lanka’s total external debts stood at Rs.4.08 trillion (US$26.52 billion) as of end-March. The previous government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa had borrowed more than US$6 billion from China.


“This agreement is related to long-term economy and national security. So this deal needs to be discussed in the parliament and among the public. You should not rush to sign this without any consultation,” Aunra Kumara Dissanayake, the leader of the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peremuna, told reporters in Colombo.

The Hambantota port deal was scheduled to be debated yesterday, but the parliament was adjourned to Aug. 4 after the opposition disrupted proceedings over a trade union action.


Government and diplomatic sources told Reuters that the United States, India and Japan have raised concerns over possible military activities by China in Hambantota port.


India’s concerns come after increased outreach by Beijing to India’s neighbours, including Nepal and Bangladesh, and China’s ongoing development of the Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, said Shailesh Kumar, Eurasia’s senior analyst for Asia.


However, the revised deal approved by Colombo seeks to allay these concerns by providing for the formation of two companies to split the operations of the port. Sri Lanka will have a major stake in the firm dealing with security, while China will run the other company that will be in charge of business.
-REUTERS 

 

 

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

  Comments - 0

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment




US Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’s Key Sri Lankan Tamil Aide

An overwhelming feeling of relief has descended upon the world-not merely th

The virus may be spreading much faster than official data suggest

The daily case reports from the Epidemiology Unit are the only data we have t

Credentials of official raise controversy

Amila Ishan Kankanamge, the Government appointed non-Executive Director to Mo

How the SLAF killed the LTTE’s “Smiling Cobra” in an air strike

More than eleven years have passed since the war between the Sri Lankan Armed

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.