Pakistan News

China likely to resume work on Colombo port project

China likely to resume work on Colombo port project

COLOMBO: Prospects for completion of the Colombo Port City project brightened on Wednesday after the Sri Lankan cabinet approved a proposal by the prime minister to set up a committee to look into the possibility of resumption of work on the China-funded scheme.

Work on the project came to a halt in January after the election of Maithripala Sirisena as president. The new government, alleging that the previous government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had indulged in corruption during execution of the plan, ordered an investigation.

This set off alarm bells in Beijing because the project was a part of its ambitious Maritime Silk Road plan to link China to Europe.

President Xi Jinping took up the matter with Mr Sirisena when the latter visited Beijing in March. Sirisena assured Xi that his government believed the fault lay not with China but with the Rajapaksa-led government.

On March 17, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Colombo denied that the grant of a piece of reclaimed land to the Chinese company entrusted with the port project would be a violation of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

On May 13, Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang, met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to persuade him to order an early resumption of work on the scheme.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2015

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