No third country should come between China and Sri Lanka, according to China. On Sunday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. During this time, he said that no third country should interfere between India and the United States.
After a two-day visit to the Maldives, China’s Foreign Minister arrived in Sri Lanka for a day on Sunday. Wang Yi said in his meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to a report by China’s official news agency Xinhua, that friendly relations between China and Sri Lanka benefit both countries’ development.
and to safeguard fundamental interests.
“Our relationship does not target any third party, and no third party should interfere in it,” he said, referring to Sri Lanka’s neighbour India.
Despite criticism of its debt trap, China is investing billions of dollars in ports and infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. China is attempting to improve relations with Sri Lanka.
China began a port project in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, a few years ago. However, due to China’s growing debt to Sri Lanka, this project was abandoned. China and Sri Lanka signed an agreement in 2017 that gave Chinese state-owned companies a 70% stake in the Hambantota port in exchange for investment in the project.
Due to China’s stake in this port, India’s concerns have grown. China, according to analysts, has moved closer to India’s south. China is also establishing a new city under the Colombo Port City umbrella. With these moves, China is increasing its presence in the Indian Ocean, which is a source of concern for India.
By investing in infrastructure projects, China is trapping not only Sri Lanka, but many other poor countries around the world in debt. All of this is being done by China as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure projects. China is investing heavily in infrastructure projects across the globe, from Asia to Africa and Europe.
The previous American administration, led by Donald Trump, was harshly critical of BRI. Trump believed that China was forcing small countries into massive debt, putting their sovereignty in jeopardy.
China halted a project to build hybrid power plants in three islands north of Sri Lanka last month, citing “security concerns” raised by a “third party.” Because this location is close to the Tamil Nadu coast, India’s concerns grew, but China eventually withdrew from the projects.
During his talks with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris, Wang Yi also proposed establishing a platform for the development of Indian Ocean island countries. China, according to observers, is attempting to expand its influence in the region.
‘China proposes that a forum on the development of Indian Ocean island countries be established at an appropriate time in order to build consensus and synergy and promote the development of all,’ Wang Yi was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Sri Lanka, according to Wang Yi, can play an important role in this.
The Chinese Embassy in Colombo also sent out a tweet, describing Sri Lanka as the “true pearl of the Indian Ocean.” During his meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa, Wang Yi lavished praise on him and referred to him as an old friend of the Chinese people.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asked China to rebuild the structure built to repay the debt owed to Sri Lanka, according to a statement released by the Sri Lankan President’s Office.
President Rajapaksa stated that restructuring loan repayments as a solution to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would be a huge relief for Sri Lanka. This year, China is estimated to owe Sri Lanka between $1.5 and $2 billion.