Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : NA Page No. : NA
URL : http://www.jdqu.com/read-835671-3.html

The last day of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official visit to China ended on a high note. On April 9, Sri Lanka’s “Colombo Post” reported that the two countries issued a joint statement expressing “the hope of developing an all-weather friendship”. Wickremesinghe called this an “important visit” and “a visit to discuss and determine the framework for future bilateral cooperation”.

In the Joint statement, the Sri Lankan side announced its approval for resumption of construction of the Colombo port city project and agreed to facilitate and support the implementation of the project. They also expressed hope for the Chinese enterprises to continue cooperation in other big projects. On April 9, Sri Lanka’s “The Island” newspaper reported that a high-powered committee has been set up by the country to ensure that all the projects and investment by Chinese are implemented smoothly and with despatch. Reuters reported on April 10 that during the official visit, the Sri Lankan government requested Beijing to waive off their $8 billion debt so that by using debt-equity swap method,, their debt can be converted into equity shares. Wickremesinghe, in a press conference on April 9, said that “the Chinese companies holding debts can become shareholders in the port city project.” However, he mentioned only about welcoming capital from Chinese enterprises for “debt to equity” and didn’t give any other explanation in the regard.

China and Sri Lanka are showing interest in involving India as well. The Indian media has been continuously tracking reports from this visit. According to the Hindu, in addition to reinforcing relations in the areas of finance, science and technology and culture, China and Sri Lanka also plan to cooperate in areas of ports, airports, roads and railway construction. Both the countries have already signed a priority purchase credit agreement to raise a loan for the project to extend the expressway line from the capital Colombo to Matara, the biggest city in the South. This is again a “sign” of China-Sri Lanka cooperation in infrastructure development.

According to an article in Hong Kong’s Asia Times by former Indian diplomat Badal Kumar, the purpose of Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s visit was to promote bilateral economic partnership, especially in the area of infrastructure investment. This is a part of China’s New Silk Road initiative. Wickremesinghe’s visit made it clear that even with a regime change, there is no guarantee that India’s neighbors will not embrace the “One Belt, One Road” initiatuve. From a geopolitical point of view, Beijing’s next move in Sri Lanka will have a far-reaching effect on India’s security interests.

A Times of India report published on April 10 claimed that due to commercial and military considerations, China has been looking to enter into the Indian Ocean sea lanes. India is constantly concerned that Sri Lanka will pave the way for China to enter the Indian ocean. However Wickremesinghe, in China, emphasized that, “our policy is to make Sri Lanka the economic center of the Indian Ocean” by accepting both “One Belt, One Road” and “Make in India”.

 

Original Text:

中斯为合作加码引印度担心 

斯里兰卡总理维克勒马辛哈对中国的正式访问在最后一天达到高潮。斯里兰卡“科伦坡之页”9日称,两国当天发表联合声明,表示“愿发展全天候友谊”。维克勒马辛哈将此次访问定义为一次“重要的访问”,一次“讨论并确定双方未来合作框架的访问”。

在联合声明中,斯方宣布批准科伦坡港口城项目恢复施工,将为项目实施提供便利和支持,并愿同中方企业继续推进其他的大项目合作。斯里兰卡《岛报》9日称,该国已经成立一个高效率的委员会,以确保中国在斯所有的投资和项目的实施都可以更加便利和快捷。英国路透社10日报道称,在访问过程中,斯里兰卡政府请求北京方面取消其80亿美元的债务,以债转股的方式将拖欠债务转化成股权。维克勒马辛哈在9日的记者会上说,“持有债务的中国企业会成为港口城的股东”。但他只提到欢迎引入中企资本,对“债转股”并没有多做解释。

斯里兰卡与中国的走近一直被第三双眼睛关注,那就是印度。印度媒体对斯里兰卡总理此访一直追踪报道。《印度教徒报》称,斯中除了在金融、科技、文领域加强联系外,还将在港口、机场、道路、铁路建设领域有更多合作。两国已就从首都科伦坡到南部最大城市马特勒的一条高速公路延伸项目签署优先购买信用贷款协议,这是斯中在基础设施建设合作上的又一“信号”。

印度前外交官巴德拉库马尔在香港《亚洲时报》撰文说,斯总理访华的目的是提升两国经贸伙伴关系,特别是在基础设施投资方面,这是中国新丝路倡议的一部分。维克勒马辛哈访华表明,即使出现政权更迭,也不能保证印度的邻居不拥抱“一带一路”。从地缘政治上看,,北京在斯里兰卡的未来举动将对印度的安全利益产生深远影响。

印度时报》10日称,出于军事和商业考虑,中国一直在寻找进入印度洋的通道。印度十分担忧,斯里兰卡在为中国获得出海口铺路。不过,维克勒马辛哈在中国强调,“我们的政策是使斯里兰卡成为印度洋的经济中心”,既接受“一带一路”,也接受“印度制造”。

 

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