President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during a conversation with four newly-appointed Ambassadors to Sri Lanka, today said China came forward to invest in development projects in the country, which was only a commercial transaction though some described it as a pro-China policy.
Ambassadors of Republic of Korea, Germany, Holy See and Switzerland presented their credentials to the President, the President Media Division said.
Commenting on Sri Lanka’s development in the aftermath of the war, President Rajapaksa said the priority of the Government as well as the people of Sri Lanka is to achieve rapid development after defeating terrorism in 2009.
“The economy was weakened due to terrorism. We required foreign investments for speedy development. China came forward to invest in development projects in the country. It was only a commercial transaction between our two countries. But some described this as a manifestation of a pro-China policy. Sri Lanka is a friend of all countries,” President explained.
President Rajapaksa pointed out that the construction of the Hambantota Port with funding from China was a project with enormous development potential, although some call it a ‘debt trap’. The previous Government leased the Hambantota Port to China, but it is being used only for commercial purposes, he said.
Explaining Sri Lanka’s policy towards the Indian Ocean during the discussion, the President said the Indian Ocean should be a free zone open to every country.
“Sri Lanka is located in a place of strategic importance. Therefore, our country is attracted to many parties. In this context, Sri Lanka has chosen neutrality as its foreign policy. Our topmost priority is mutually beneficial development cooperation. This country is open for foreign investments,” the President said.(Lahiru Pothmulla)