Concluding his first diplomatic tour of the new year, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi maintained that China’s relationship with Sri Lanka “should not be interfered with by any third party”.
“It does not target any third party and should not be interfered with by any third party. The all-around cooperation and strategic mutual trust between the two countries have injected positive energy into regional peace and stability” a statement from Beijing read.
His statement comes as both India and the US have expressed concerns over China’s growing footprint in South Asia. In December, Colombo cancelled the development of a Chinese solar energy project in islands just off Jaffna citing security concerns from a third-party, believed to be India. Last year, India also established a Secretariat for Trilateral National Security Advisers (NSA) on Maritime Security Cooperation among India, Maldives and Sri Lanka in Colombo.
That August, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka expressed grave concern over the joint Chinese-Sri Lankan Port City project noting “there appears to be openings for either corrupt influences or potential of illicit financing, money laundering and things like that. US companies are going to be wary of that”.
During his visit, Yi agreed to extend yuan 800 million for partnerships in the health sector and technical cooperation besides supporting the construction of low-cost housing in Colombo. He further proposed a “forum on the development of Indian Ocean Island countries” to build consensus and synergy and promote common development.
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