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China eyes up Sri Lanka for post-coronavirus assistance

China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka pledged that his government and Chinese companies would look to help “rebuild” the island’s economy, as Sri Lanka’s president assured China that his regime had the spread of the coronavirus outbreak under control.

Acting Ambassador and Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo Hu Wei met with Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo this week, where the Sri Lankan president claimed the spread of the virus was “under control in general”.

In response, Wei pledged assistance “not only from the Central Government of China but also from the country’s leading companies and banks to rebuild its economy in the post – COVID -19 period”.

China has already given out a series of loans to the Sri Lankan state, with a reported US$5 billion lent between 2010 and 2015 for infrastructure projects, including the development of a port in Hambantota at interest rates of up to 6.3 percent.

“Sri Lanka is a special friend of China,” Wei reportedly added.  “We have long standing and cordial relations between the two countries.  When we faced COVID- 19 disaster recently, Sri Lanka stood with us. China is willing to return that goodwill in the form of fullest cooperation to revive Sri Lanka’s economy in the post-COVID – 19 period.”

China’s offer comes as Sri Lanka battles an economic crisis, which has worsened with the coronavirus pandemic.

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