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MR urges more development projects with Japan

16 June 2016 03:37 pm - 18     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Amid a proliferation of development deals in Sri Lanka, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says his country and Japan could work on more projects together, including hospitals and highways.

“I believe that the infrastructure projects are very important for Sri Lanka after the war,” Rajapaksa said during an interview with The Japan Times on Wednesday in Tokyo.

“Everybody started giving to us. So we took it. But Japan also helped us a lot.”

Japan and China are locked in head-to-head competition in Sri Lanka, a strategically important country that sits near a key Indian Ocean sea lane.

Under Rajapaksa, who is credited with ending a more than two-decades war against the separatist Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan economy grew rapidly. He also awarded a slew of lucrative development projects to China — projects his critics say became a hotbed of corruption. He lost an election last year after being accused of nepotism and corruption.

According to the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, China now has the most ODA (Official Development Assistance) projects in Sri Lanka. Yet under the standard set by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Japan is the largest ODA sponsor in Sri Lanka.

China is not a member of the OECD.

As Rajapaksa was seen as being too pro-China, his successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, has been trying to recalibrate the nation’s policy and has put up for review all ODA projects that were started during Rajapaksa’s tenure.

Some of the Chinese ODA deals have been canceled or put under review. But the $1.4 billion Colombo Port City project with China — the largest in Sri Lanka’s history — has been restarted, a testament to the strategically important role Beijing plays in the country.

As for Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also pledged an up to ¥13 billion loan to Sri Lanka to digitalize terrestrial television broadcasting when he met with Rajapaksa in 2014, but that project was also reviewed.

Still, Abe pledged a further ¥38 billion loan during a bilateral talk with Sirisena after the Group of Seven summit in Mie Prefecture last month.

Abe also promised to provide two patrol ships to the island nation, which is considered part of China’s “string of pearls” strategy to expand its naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

In 2014, a Chinese submarine docked in Sri Lanka, an action that angered India.

Rajapaksa also said that Japan could provide ships and personnel training for sea-lane patrols.(The Japan Times)

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  Comments - 18

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  • Sri Lankans Friday, 17 June 2016 03:47 AM

    He is trying to collect his commissions!!!

    raj Friday, 17 June 2016 09:16 AM

    What about war crimes?

    willows Thursday, 16 June 2016 03:54 PM

    What happened during your period with Japan? don't worry Yahapalanaya will do their best now,

    lion Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:04 PM

    Hey what is this, is this boy still governing this country?

    Ajith Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:07 PM

    Adala Nene. Go and rest in Madamulana.

    priyantha Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:12 PM

    looking for commission or a deal enough is enough

    KENNEDY Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:18 PM

    Hello ex-president wake up? We were once a isolated state and now u are talking about Japanese development projecta.

    Citizen Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:21 PM

    He is another adviser to this government?

    KOLA KOTIYA Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:28 PM

    HE THINK STILL HE IS THE PRESEDENT POWER HUNGRY. HE MAY BE TALKING ABOUT HIS FAMILY PROJECTS

    ANTON Thursday, 16 June 2016 04:33 PM

    IF THERE ARE ANY DESTRUCTION PROJECTS, WE CAN SEND JONNY BOY FOR FURTHER STUDIES.

    karsha Thursday, 16 June 2016 05:08 PM

    he thinks so

    Mahinda Thursday, 16 June 2016 05:15 PM

    I think it's right time for you to STFU!! Thank you.

    Dee Thursday, 16 June 2016 05:43 PM

    Why China is out the window now?

    Titanic Thursday, 16 June 2016 05:44 PM

    learn lessons from JR go and rest via DM Android App

    Veda-mama Thursday, 16 June 2016 06:10 PM

    Still trying to promote business.

    Reader Thursday, 16 June 2016 06:11 PM

    Japan helped this country a lot. Around mid and late eighties when no other country came to our help Japan came forward to help.During MR regime Japan was pushed to a side as Japan did not fund projects unless they were feasible and so on unlike China.So MR grabbed Chinese funds on some White Elephant projects which every one knows.What is he saying now.

    Ajja Friday, 17 June 2016 12:58 PM

    Now we feel than known devil is better than the unknown Evil.... via DM Android App

    Miyuru Thursday, 16 June 2016 07:54 PM

    Not hospitals, MR must request for better prisons!


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