No 'third party' should interfere: Chinese foreign minister targets India during Lanka visit

WION Web Team
Colombo Published: Jan 11, 2022, 02:51 PM(IST)

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Colombo Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Wang met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Lankan prime minister requested relief in debt payments as Sri Lanka battles a massive economic crisis

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday as he declared that no "third party" should interfere in relations between the two countries while referring to India.

Wang met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. China's Xinhua news agency quoted the Chinese foreign minister saying that "it does not target any third party and should not be interfered with by any third party.”

Rajapaksa requested relief in debt payments as Sri Lanka battles a massive economic crisis amid the pandemic. Sri Lanka's foreign reserves plummeted last year as it rationed electricity and sought to import oil to power its thermal stations.

Also Read: Sri Lanka's tough balancing act: Oil tanks for India, compensation for Chinese fertiliser

Sri Lanka had leased the strategically important Hambantota port for 99 years to China after it had failed to repay the loan for the port. 

Although both Sri Lanka and China have dismissed reports the Hambantota port could be used for military purposes but the US and India have warned it could give the Chinese military an edge in the Indian Ocean region.

Wang arrived in Sri Lanka from the Maldives where China offered infrastructure support including medical aid and visa concessions.

Also Read: Sri Lankan lawmaker calls on China’s Xi Jinping to stop its ‘economic invasion’

The Chinese foreign ministry quoted Wang as saying that "all island countries share similar experiences and common needs".

Wang said China proposes to set up a "forum on the development of Indian Ocean island countries" while adding that Sri Lanka can play a major role.

Wang said that the forum should be held at an "appropriate time to build consensus and synergy" as China looks to strengthen relations with Sri Lanka.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Read in App