China has no hidden agenda on maritime silk route move: envoy to Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Route is a trade and economic initiative with no hidden security agenda and there was no intention to set Sri Lanka against any other country, Beijing’s envoy to Colombo said.

"We have no hidden agenda in this initiative," Ambassador Yi Xianliang told members of the Sri Lanka China Business Association of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

"This is just a win-win development, economic and trade (initiative)."

Ambassador Yi said China had no intention of using Sri Lanka or any other country along the silk route "to be one of the potential places to be against any other country".

He said China and Sri Lanka hoped to speed up negotiations on a free trade deal and wrap it up by the end of the year. He also announced 250 million dollars in grants for Sri Lanka over the next three years and a 100 million dollar hospital specializing in kidney diseases.

"We welcome all the countries in the world to be a part of this initiative," Ambassador Yi said.

"I am sure you will seize the opportunity to get more development and benefits from this co-operation."

China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Route Initiative strings together a serious countries from Pakistan, via Sri Lanka and Burma to China along an ancient maritime trading channel.

Many countries along the route ranging from Burma, Thailand, Singapore as well as the Malacca straits gauntlet between modern-day Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia were linked by expansionist Indian Empires who colonised them with Hindu-Buddhist civilizations, and controlled trade.

China has been building ports along the route. China already owns a container teriminal in Colombo and it is expected to build another terminal in Hambantota at the southern tip of the island.

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India’s has viewed the growing involvement of China in Sri Lanka with alarm especially after Chinese military submarines started to dock at the Colombo’s container terminal at political times such as during a visit of the Japanese Prime Minister to India, opening a southern front.

India already has border skirmishes with China.

Some Sri Lankan politicians and analysts have also been somewhat alarmed by a Chinese see reclamation project in Colombo after watching the country’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea in general, and the intimidation of Vietnam in particular.

Earlier this week, Maldives’ parliament approved a law to give freehold land to anyone who reclaimed land from the sea. (Colombo/July30/2015)

 

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