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Embassy Spokesperson's letter to Financial Times on its unjustified comments of China-Sri Lanka co-operation

The Financial Times published on 28 November 2018 a letter by Ms. Zeng Rong, Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, on the unjustified comments of China-Sri Lanka co-operation. The full text is as follows:

I can’t agree with the comments in your editorial “Sri Lanka turmoil points to China’s increasing role” (November 16) that China is “becoming a supplier of political instability” and sets “debt-trap” for Sri Lanka and other countries.

China and Sri Lanka have long been friendly neighbours that always support each other in their major and core interests. The co-operation between the two countries is win-win and mutually beneficial. Such co-operation has delivered tangible benefit to the people of Sri Lanka. By the end of 2017, Chinese companies had completed more than $15 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka in transportation, water, electricity, ports and other fields, giving a strong boost to the economic development.

The Puttalam Power Station provided about 40% of the nation’s electricity supply, reducing the power price by 25%. The completion of Colombo-Katunayake Expressway has brought great convenience to travelers and contributed to local tourism. The Colombo International Container Terminal, a China-Sri Lanka joint venture, enhanced the overall operational capacity of the Port of Colombo. According to the Port Connectivity Index compiled by Drewry (UK based shipping and maritime consultancy), the Port of Colombo ranked 13th in the world and number one in South Asia in 2017.

The Colombo Port City under construction and the Hambantota Port and Industrial Zone are expected to become the new powerful engines for Sri Lanka’s economic take-off. Furthermore, China-Sri Lanka pragmatic co-operation has created more than 100,000 jobs for Sri Lanka and trained tens of thousands of technical and management personnel.

China is not competing with any country to seek so-called regional dominance. China-Sri Lanka co-operation is equal and mutually beneficial. It is not targeting any third party or setting “debt trap”. By 2017, China’s loans to Sri Lanka accounted for only about 10% in Sri-Lanka’s foreign debts, while Japan accounts for 12% and the Asian Development Bank 14%. It is not tenable to claim that China’s loans are causing problems for Sri Lanka.

Zeng Rong

Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the UK

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