Colombo, Aug 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka is very much a partner in China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative, a Communist Party delegation said here today.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s multi-billion initiative focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe.
Guo Yehou, a Chinese Vice Minister, met Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as part of the ongoing close relationship between the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
Wickremesinghe is the main negotiator of the Sri Lankan government’s trade links with China.
The Chinese delegation assured Wickremesinghe of all assistance to make Sri Lanka a commercial and financial hub in South Asia, the statement said.
The prime minister has faced internal criticism for his furtherance of the Chinese projects including the construction of the port city in Colombo and the industrial park around the sea port in Hambantota.
Both were Chinese infrastructure projects funded under commercial loans during the 10-year rule of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
In December last, Sri Lanka had handed over the control of the southern sea port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease, triggering concern here over Beijing’s efforts to expand influence in the region.
The opposition has dubbed the deals as the sell out of national assets.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.