(UDHAYAM, CHINA) – China has never asked Sri Lanka to allow only Chinese enterprises to operate inside the Hambantota Industrial Zone, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Responding to the media queries on the protests in Hambantota in Southern Sri Lanka against Chinese-invested project earlier this month, the spokesperson said it is learned that small-scale protests occurred mainly because the local people misconstrued relevant policies on the projects.
“The Sri Lankan side has made an official clarification on this,” she added.
When asked how concerned China is by these protests and whether China force Sri Lanka to offer concessions over the port project because Sri Lanka owes so much money to China in the form of loans, the Spokesperson said as the two countries are traditional friendly neighbours, China is willing to provide the best assistance it can to help Sri Lanka with its economic development so as to achieve common development.
“The Chinese enterprises always discuss the Hambantota Port project with the Sri Lankan side on a voluntary basis, in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit, and following market rules,” Ms. Hua said.
Relevant cooperation projects are expected to play a constructive role in the long-term development of Hambantota Port and other parts of Sri Lanka, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson emphasised.