China asks Sri Lanka to protect interests of investors
Posted on March 9th, 2015

china daily

China has urged Sri Lanka to respect bilateral agreements and business contracts, and protect the interests of its investors following the suspension of a multi- billion-US dollar project, the Chinese Embassy said on Saturday.

At emergency meetings with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang also asked the Sri Lankan side to cherish the results of mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two countries, the embassy said.

The Sri Lankan government decided on Thursday to temporarily suspend the Colombo Port City project pending an investigative report ordered by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. China Communications Construction Company, the Chinese firm involved in constructing the mega port city, had agreed to halt its work on the ground.

The Association for Sri Lanka-China Social and Cultural Cooperation, a civic group in Sri Lanka, demanded the government retract its decision as the Chinese-funded Port City has created job opportunities and benefited the local economy.

The $1.4billion project, which was built on reclaimed land, was part of a deal reached between Sri Lanka and China under the former Sri Lankan government. The new government which took office following elections in January had wanted a review on the project.

 

16 Responses to “China asks Sri Lanka to protect interests of investors”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    China is in the process of connecting Eurasia with intercontinental railways. Some will go to Europe via Russia, some will to to South East Asia others will go the Middle East. They are supposed to complement the sea routes but they could easily replace them as well.

    Sri Lanka is not indispensable to China. China could if she wanted to, leave Sri Lanka high and dry and to the mercy of India while she forges greater ties with greater nations. China in that sense is indispensable to Sri Lanka. Without her Sri Lanka is at the mercy of New Delhi and/or the US. If Colombo wants to play tough with Chins then do so knowing that China can do the same with Sri Lanka.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    This reminds me of the story about the man who sat on a tree branch and cut the wrong end, leading to his death.
    The new regime’s childish attitude towards investments for the future, like the Hambantota harbour and airport, completed with Chinese aid and expertise, as well as those still under construction, like the port city, may please the Western and Indian alliance, but it is like committing Hara-Kiri for the Sri Lankan economy as well as its business reputation. By all means safeguard Sri Lankan interests and re-negotiate to adjust any deficiencies in these contracts, but don’t allow any lack of vision or jealousy or political point scoring, to get in the way and mistreat Chinese interests, as it could effect the country’s security and sovereignty, if previous hostile forces re-emerge.

  3. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Bernard Wijeysingha, You hit the nail on the head. With the contracts already signed with China and India, both have warned RANIL. Now look at it carefully for what he said in the Parliament is for the local consumption. I am the RULER no one does any thing that the previous government started. Did you see what he did when the INDIAN foreign minister came; he went down on his knees. Same happened when Mangala went to China. Believe in me, New Delhi will not allow a free hand control of Sri Lanka by USA

  4. Ratanapala Says:

    China’s President Xi Jinping was the first Chinese head of state to visit Sri Lanka in three decades, underlining Beijing’s renewed push to deepen its strategic and economic presence in the neighbourhood and in the Indian Ocean.The Chinese leader was the first President to visit Sri Lanka since former leader Li Xiannian in 1986. China’s presence in the Indian Ocean makes a good balance against the “Big (Bully) Brother” nobody likes.

    A $500 million- built port built by the Chinese was inaugurated in Colombo last year. With heavy investment in infrastructure, including the massive port it helped build in Hambantota along Sri Lanka’s southern coast, China is said to have surpassed Japan and India as the biggest contributor to investments in the island nation.

    President Xi Jinping and former President Rajapaksa jointly unveiled the foundation of Port City and cut the ribbon for ground-breaking.

    Belittling China’s commitment to Sri Lanka even after a historic visit by the Chinese President himself will not augur well for future China-Sri Lanka relationship and for that matter the security of Sri Lanka.

    India trained terrorists and promoted terrorism in Sri Lanka. With India in control no neighbouring country can prosper. This is the reality of South Asia. All neighbouring countries need to be assertive in charting their own prosperity in spite of India!

  5. Christie Says:

    Namaste: Ratnapala it is India who got Mahinda in 2005 thinking India could manipulate him. India tried with Sarath Fonseka and failed. This time with Chandrika it managed to get Sirisena. The reason why India wants to end the Port City is India does not want Indians in the island to follow what happened to Indians in Singapore. Up to early seventies Singapore businesses were in the hands of minority Indians. Jai Hind.

  6. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    LANKAPUTHRA:

    Sri Lanka is important to China BUT NOT CENTRAL TO CHINA. Sri Lanka is only one of many strategic issues for Beijing.
    A good deal of Chin’a foreign policy has been directed at the US, even India is a lesser threat to China than the US. Example China’s military buildup is to take on the US military more than India’s. Sri Lanka does not even enter the picture

    Just read an article in the Asia times about the US dollar. Within that article Beijing has larger domestic economic problems to deal with to the extent of even entertaining the possibility of de linking her currency from the US dollar to save her economy from further erosion. The US ‘containment policy” of China has pitted both nations against each other. In that sense if Colombo wants to play hard ball with China Beijing may find it just an irritant

  7. ranjit Says:

    Instead of listening to the liars in the Jarapalanaya you should have listened yesterday to the Chinese Ambassador regarding the port city project which was started by the last Govt. He explained very simply about the importance of this project and how much it will benefit the Sri Lankan people and the country in whole.

    The famous lying duo Ranil and Awamanagalaya going round the country telling tons of lies and misguiding the public about this project. People should stop believing these liars because everything they say are mostly lies and cheap tactics to get votes. They say they stopped casinos. Ask them to show one casino they have closed? These are lies and lies and lies to hoodwinked the poor people. They are telling prices are down but where? Sliced bread is RS. 120. EGG HOPPER RS.30,EGG ROTI RS.40.TEA RS 50 and in some places 30-40,Bus fares same, Rice double the price and so many others. You should not believe these Yamapalakayo just get rid of them if you need a better future.

  8. cassandra Says:

    China’s wish to protect the interest of the investors is understandable, and that’s OK. But from SL’s point of view, the nation’s interests must come first. And that includes, among other things, not giving away part of the island’s territory to China – 20 hectares outright and 80 odd hectares on a 99 year lease. That is simply NOT in SL’s interest. It took almost 450 years since the Portuguese arrived in the island for colonial rule to end; getting back the country was a hell of difficult job, and here we are apparently thinking nothing of giving away some of our territory to a foreign power!

  9. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Cassandra: a lease is not “giving away” land. Hong Kong was leased to Great Britain for 99 years too. When that lease ran out the well developed city of Hong Kong reverted back to China.

    A lease is a binding contract. It is not free. China pays for having a lease. the land is Sri Lankan. China develops it in the same manner Great Britain developed Hong Kong. Your example of the Colonial age is why we will never make progress. That age is over. India does not have the technology, the ambition nor the money to develop that port city the way China can. India to date HAS acted like a Colonial power with her imperial attitude towards Sri Lanka.

  10. cassandra Says:

    Mr BW,

    I assure you I am not unaware of what is involved in a lease and I do know that a lease does not constitute land being given away free or for all time. If you had read my earlier response carefully, you will have noted I spoke of “20 hectares being given outright” AND “80 odd hectares on a 99 year lease”.

    Now, about the 20 hectares that are contemplated to be given outright – not by way of a lease: Does this not represent PART OF SRI LANKA’S TERRITORY being given to a foreign power? I simply cannot understand the seemingly blasé attitude of so many who write about the proposed Port City development in regard to this important aspect of the project. Nor can I understand how MR, who is hailed for ending the war with the Tigers and so ensuring that the territorial integrity of the island remains intact, could have been unconcerned about a fracturing that same territorial integrity by giving away part of the land, however small, to a foreign power. It beggars belief.

    BTW, the land involved is from a strategic location; on the coast, and what more does that entail? Will China also get rights over the sea area that abuts the land?

    I am glad you brought up the example of Hong Kong. Yes, it reverted to China when the lease expired but during the tenure of the lease Hong Kong was A BRITISH COLONY over which China had no say, no authority and no control. Are you going to be happy to have a CHINESE COLONY on Sri Lankan soil in the warm anticipation that at the end of 99 years SL will get the land back in a developed state? That is certainly not what I’d want to see.
    It is also pertinent to note that the lease of HK to the British was not something that the Chinese cheerfully agreed to, and China never tired of speaking of how Britain secured Hong Kong through unequal treaties. China’s attitude to the British colony was a lot less relaxed than yours seems to be.

    Let’s not kid ourselves. True, China has been a friend of SL but China is in this not for the greater benefit of SL but for China’s own interests. It is up to SL to protect her own interests.

    I agree that economic development cannot be achieved with planning timidity but, for me, giving away part of the country to achieve economic progress (a debatable point, anyway) is an unacceptable price to pay.

  11. Dilrook Says:

    China is alloted land reclaimed from the sea of an area of 20 hectares. However, in 2002 Ranil gave away over 400 hectares of land and oil tanks in Trincomalee to India on a 99 year lease subject to further renewal. Strange how those who complain about the 20 are silent about the 400. It gets worse. India as the creator of terrorism in the island (from common criminals and bank robbers) must not have been given the tank farm.

    Getting China to commit to infrastructure in the heart of Colombo is a very wise move to prevent another Indian gun boat diplomacy attack (1987).

    What the UNP led government fails to realise is the disruption of Chinese projects will have dire economic and political repurcussions on Sri Lanka. The last time Sri Lanka economically aligned with India was in 1970-77 marked by economic stagnation (except for Indians in the country). The west is unable to help as most western countries suffer massive levels of debt.

    As an Indian military outpost (Sri Lanka is already an Indian military outpost the way its foreign policy is not balanced), Sri Lanka will face anti-Indian military attacks as well.

  12. cassandra Says:

    Dilrook,

    With due respect, you cannot compare the lease to India of the oil tanks and the land in Trincomalee with the 20 hectares that are to be given OUTRIGHT and in PERPETUITY to China. The fact that it is of reclaimed land is not material. It is land on the coast with all the rights to the surrounding ocean that go with it. To me this is nothing short of giving away part of the country’s sovereign territory.

    It is naive to imagine that securing a Chinese presence in the island is going to neutralise the Indian factor. We will only be enlarging our vulnerabilities, not lessening them. Let not anti Indian sentiment lead us to compound our ‘problems’

  13. Dilrook Says:

    @Cassandra

    It is wrong to say the land was given in perpetuity. No such thing occurred. The company that owns this land has a 85% Chinese company holding. If that is called giving outright in perpetuity, there are thousands of lands in the country that are given to foreigners in perpetuity. The government can take over any land thus owned by an individual or a company. On the other hand giving away the Trincomalee oil tanks to India for a 99 year lease with a paltry return is a threat to national security.

    Also of note is Iranawila granted to USA since the 1980s.

    Chinese presence in the island does protect it from Indian aggression. Sri Lanka cannot defend itself against Indian invasions. But a symbolic Chinese presence can deter Indian adventurism. Similar strategies are used by many small nations. They are not about war, but about peace by preventing external bullying.

  14. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Cassandra:

    Now I see what you meant and stand corrected. but keep in mind some issues.

    It was the Great Britain, Holland, and the United States (among many western powers) who completely built the entire infrastructure of the Middle East and owned it. Then they nationalized it and took it from the west.

    Right now China has to use Russian soil in order to build her transcontinental railways. China owns those railways, the stations, the trains that carry the goods and the right of passage. that does not mean at some point Moscow can also have a greater say on those strategic connections.

    If you are in the US then You know that first Japan in the 80’s bought up vital real estate from Diamond Point in Hawaii to Los Angeles to New York. they owned that outright. put together it was and still is far larger than 20 hectores of land

    now China is doing the same in the US. The Chinese are buying up property in the US to mines across Africa. I fully understand the implications of a foreign power owning outright 20 hectores of this port city and one has to be cautious of that . God forbid if India started doing that or worse Tamil Nadu. But at any given time Colombo can turn around and “nationalize” it if Colombo sees this as a threat to the integrity of the nation. That is a risk China has to take be it in Sri Lanka, the US, Europe or Africa.

  15. cassandra Says:

    Dilrook,

    Of course, “It is wrong to say the land was given in perpetuity.” And I did NOT say it. These are your words. If you had read my comments carefully you will have seen that what I said was that the “20 hectares ARE to be given”. I could not very well have spoken of it as if it had already occurred seeing that the land is still to be reclaimed.

    All the other projects which you have chosen to drag along to this discussion only serve to cloud the issue. Even if those projects are bad as you claim, that does not render the proposed Port City Project a good one.

    I still maintain that it is naive to imagine that a Chinese presence in the island is in any way going to neutralise the Indian factor. Inviting the Chinese in this fashion is to also invite trouble.

    Let’s agree to disagree and leave this discussion there.

    In the meantime, I hope that when the current SL reviews the project it will ensure that SL’s best interests are properly secured.

  16. cassandra Says:

    Mr BW,

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate what you state.

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