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

WION Web Team
Colombo Published: Jan 05, 2022, 02:37 PM(IST)

Sri Lankan MP accused China of dismantling its economy Photograph:( IANS )

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Notably, the remarks come ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Sri Lanka to mark the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations 

A Sri Lankan parliamentarian has shot off a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping to stop its economic invasion of the island nation, putting its future in jeopardy.

Notably, the letter comes days ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Sri Lanka to mark the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations.

In a 45-point letter to the Chinese president, Sri Lankan lawyer and Member of Parliament Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that most of the projects carried out with Chinese funds have been wasteful and large commissions have been paid to the corrupt politicians and officials to secure such projects.

He also warned China of the repercussions for to its constant influence on Sri Lankan politicians, adding that the people will not hesitate to overthrow the government at the first available opportunity and this could be the case in the next election in the country.

Also read | With Colombo port city, China sees a potential overseas colony in Sri Lanka

The lawmaker said if these agreements are found not in compliance with best practices, they would be cancelled once the new government takes over.

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“Transactions you have secured through corruption will be cancelled and we hold no liability to pay back any loans obtained for such contracts. In the event of any restructuring, under no circumstances the period of any agreement will be permitted to exceed a period of 15 years from the date of the inception of such contracts,” he said.

Rajapakshe also accused of China using the 'One Belt, One Road' policy into pushing Sri Lanka into its “debt trap” “with the ultimate ambition of making this country a battlefield of yours in your voyage to the world’s power.”

Later while speaking to WION, Rajapakshe blamed Mahinda Rajapaksa, the two-time president and the current prime minister, for letting Sri Lanka get trapped under the Chinese debt.

Also read | As US withdraws aid, Chinese mission to push Sri Lanka further into debt succeeds

In 2017, the previous Maithripala Sirisena government had to hand over Hambantota port to a state-run Chinese firm for a 99 years’ lease as a debt swap amounting to $1.2 billion.

“When Hambantota port project was commenced, negotiations were taking place during the president (Chandrika) Kumaratunga period. They (Chinese firm) were to construct a harbour there and for that, they quoted $390 million.”

“After the change of the government in 2005, when Rajapakshe came to power—the time when China launched their One Belt One Road initiative—the quotation of the contract went up. Initially, they charged $580 million and finally ended up quoting $1,285 million.”

Apart from making the country bankrupt, Rajapakshe also blamed China for dismantling Sri Lanka’s foreign relations with India, US and the EU.

(With inputs from agencies)

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