Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan said today it would be opportune for Sri Lanka to improve the investment climate in Sri Lanka since there were many large Chinese companies eager to put their money on the ground.
Addressing a forum of media personnel, academics and representatives of Chinese companies doing business in Sri Lanka at the Lotus Tower, the Ambassador said bilateral relations between the two countries had progressed well. He said Sri Lanka received independence in 1948 whereas the People’s Republic of China was established in 1948. Likewise, he said China liberalised its economy in 1978 and Sri Lanka in 1979.
The forum was organised after a familiarisation visit to two other Chinese investment sites- Colombo Port City and the Colombo International Container Terminal Limited.
In his address, the Ambassador also rubbished allegations by western countries that Sri Lanka had been caught in a Chinese debt trap. He said Chinese loans accounted for only 11.5 per cent of Sri Lanka's total foreign borrowings, and therefore there was no basis for allegations by some western countries.
He said there were no plans by China to use the Hambantota Port for military purposes and pointed out that the port was solely in the hands of the Sri Lankan Government as far as military matters were concerned.
Asserting that no Chinese military ship had called at Hambantota, he said such a thing could be done only with the permission of the Sri Lankan Government and its military. (Kelum Bandara)