Skip to main content

Sri Lanka signs $1.1 billion China port deal amid local, foreign concerns

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-china-ports-idUSKBN1AE0CN?il=0


Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez

FILE PHOTO - A group of Sri Lankan visitors at the deep water shipping port watch Chinese dredging ships work in Hambantota, 240km (149 miles) southeast of Colombo, March 24, 2010.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka signed a long delayed $1.1 billion deal on Saturday to lease its southern Hambantota port to China ignoring an appeal by opposition parties to debate the pact in parliament.

The deal was signed between the two state firms -- Sri LankaPorts Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Port Holdings(0144.HK) to handle the commercial operations of the Chinese-built port on a 99-year lease.

Chinese firm will hold 70 stake in a joint venture with SLPA to run the port, part of a plan to convert loans worth $6 billion that Sri Lanka owes China into equity.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We thank China for arranging this investor to save us from the debt trap," Port Minister Mahinda Samaraasinghe told the gathering in Colombo port where the deal was signed.

He said the Chinese firm will invest additional $600 million to make Hambantota port operational while $1.12 billion from the deal will be used for debt repayment.

Hu Jianhua, the executive vice president of the ChinaMerchants Port said the port facilities belong to the citizens of Sri Lanka but will be a key part of China's massive One Belt One Road initiative to build trade and transport links across Asia and beyond.

"With these maritime infra-structure investments, and other diverse investments such as the proposed international maritime center, Sri Lanka will be well positioned to play a strategic role in the one-belt-one-road initiative of China," Hu said.

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 the Chinese firm signed an agreement to take an 80 percent stake in the port built for $1.5 billion.

The pact signed last year sparked widespread public anger as Chinese control of the port, which included a plan for a 99-yearlease 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.

Sri Lankan government has revised the deal to set up two companies to split the operations of the port and allay concerns, in India mainly but also in Japan and the United States, that it won't be used for military purposes.

A group of opposition members led by former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peremuna asked the government not to sign the agreement until it is in parliament.

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

"It is government's responsibility to give a parliamentary debate as they abruptly hoodwinked the debate yesterday," Dinesh Gunawardena, an opposition leader told Reuters.

"We have requested the president to give us a time to discuss the concerns."

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

5 Shia Hazara community members gunned down in Pakistan

http://m.hindustantimes.com/world-news/5-shia-hazara-community-members-gunned-down-in-pakistan/story-CHWR4lYByRHzf2KjHjMloI.html



Five members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.This is not the first time that members of the Hazara community have been targeted in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.(Reuters File Photo)Updated: Sep 11, 2017 00:20 ISTBy Press Trust of India, Press Trust of India, KarachiFive members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.The gunmen targeted a car in Kuchluck area of Quetta while it was coming from the Chaman border crossing area, police said.The firing took place when the travellers had stopped at a filling station to refuel their vehicle. Five people of the Shia Hazara community, including two women, died in …

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…