Two days after Sri Lanka’s President met Chinese delegation, China announced that it was extending a grant of $90 million to Sri Lanka. During the meeting Sri Lankan President had requested the Chinese officials to help disprove a misconception that all megaprojects funded by China are “debt traps.”
The Chinese Embassy in Colombo has called the financial support as a timely grant and noted that the grant would be utilized for sectors like education, medical care and water supplies in rural areas of the island country. Embassy further said that China would continue to “continue to contribute to the well being of Sri Lankans in a post-Covid era.”
On a local papers report, the embassy clarifies that a $500 million concessional loan requested by 🇱🇰Ministry of Finance to a 🇨🇳financial institute is under negotiation & not finalized. 🇨🇳 would answer with all kinds of possible support to help 🇱🇰 tide over #COVID19 difficulties. pic.twitter.com/womctw4BV0— Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka (@ChinaEmbSL) October 11, 2020
Sri Lanka is an essential component of Chia’s humongous “Belt and Road” global infrastructure initiative. China has provided loans worth billions of dollars for Sri Lankan projects over a decade now. These projects pan across sectors including seaport, airport, port-city, power stations and highways.
Chinese delegation, which was led by Yang Jiechi, a Communist Party Politburo member and former foreign minister, visited Sri Lanka on Friday. During meeting Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa asked Yang Jiechi to help in clearing out the perception that megaprojects that are being funded by China in Sri Lanka are debt traps which are aimed to increase local influence.
China had first expanded its imprint on Sri Lanka when it was under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the older brother of the current leader. The increasing relations between Sri Lanka and China has been worrying for India.
Back in 2017, Sri Lanka had leased out a port built by China which was located near quite active shipping routes for 99 years to a Chinese company. The idea was to get some relief from the heavy loan taken from China to build the port, which Sri Lanka couldn’t afford to repay in the first place. The port facility is part of a line of ports which will extend from Chinese waters to the Persian Gulf.