China says Sri Lanka naval base fears only speculation; rejects trapping OBOR borrowers

ECONOMYNEXT – Fears that Hambantota port in Sri Lanka will be used as a military base in the future is only speculation, a Chinese finance ministry officials said, also rejecting charges that China is that poor countries in debt by its One Belt One Road initiative.

"..[I[t is a cooperation project conducted by China and Sri Lanka on the basis of equality and mutual benefit," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing.

"It will contribute to local socio-economic development. Our two sides have the strong will to ensure the smooth progress of this project.

"I think that there is no need for certain people to make speculations from the military or other strategic perspectives."

Sri Lanka has said it leased the port to China for 99-years as the port was making losses and could not repay its loans, while opposition activists alleged corruption.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned last week that government debt in some poor countries were rising as they borrowed to build Chinese projects under its One Belt One Road initiative.

"As to the different views held by some people mentioned by you, I think that the conclusion may be different when people view the same thing with a different mindset and from a different perspective," she said.

"The Belt and Road Initiative is open and transparent and we hope that relevant countries can follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to advance it and deliver benefits to their people."






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