Beijing, March 17 (IANS) Following the suspension of a China-funded port project in Colombo, China on Tuesday urged Sri Lanka to protect the interests of Chinese investors and promote bilateral economic ties.
“We hope the Sri Lankan government will resolve the issue and protect the legitimate interests of Chinese investors according to law for the healthy development of economic and trade ties,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted ministry of commerce spokesperson Shen Danyang as saying.
He said at the monthly press conference that China attached great importance to economic and trade cooperation with Sri Lanka. China supports its enterprises investing in Sri Lanka on the basis of mutual respect and benefits.
The Sri Lankan government announced earlier this month that it had suspended the $1.5-billion Chinese project in Colombo for re-evaluation of the deal. Stakeholders were reportedly concerned over environmental standards and a lack of transparency.
Construction of the port, handled by the China Communications Construction Co., was started during former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure. It would have created 83,000 jobs for local people.
After Sri Lanka’s new President Maithripala Sirisena took office in January, the new government decided to re-examine the port project and reconsider the outright transfer of a parcel of land to China under the deal.