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Chinese envoy advises Sri Lanka to give priority to development before reconciliation

Jun 7, 2016
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Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang is of the opinion that it would be ill advised for Sri Lanka to give priority to reconciliation before development because only the all-round equitable development will prevent social, political and economic conflicts.

He has also advised Sri Lankan leaders to see that the reconciliation mechanisms suggested by the UN Human Rights Council do not themselves create new conflicts, the New Indian Express said in a report yesterday.

On China’s unqualified support for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, Ambassador Yi has noted that China is against outside interference in domestic affairs of Sri Lanka.

Speaking at the Regional Center for Strategic Studies in Colombo on Monday about the Chinese investments, the Ambassador has said that China wants its projects in Sri Lanka to be Joint Ventures either with local Lankan companies and state organizations or with foreign companies, including Indian companies.

He said the common Lankan and Indian perception that Chinese projects are primarily meant to bolster China’s strategic interests in the region will be dispelled if they are Joint Ventures with local entities and foreign companies and run as commercial enterprises.

Emphasizing that China has no hidden agenda, Ambassador Yi has said that the entire 21st century Maritime Silk Road project is meant to promote development all across its route so that every country on the route benefits from it.

China is already opening up its projects in Lanka to non-Chinese participation to allay India’s fears about their strategic impact, Ambassador Yi has said.

However, Yi Xianliang has made it clear that if foreign investment, including Chinese investment, is to come to Lanka, the island nation will have to put its house in order so that there is policy stability, the procedures are simple and there is no overlapping of authority.

Policies should also not change with a regime change, as was the case when the Rajapaksa regime was replaced by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, he said.

Dispelling the notion that China had exceptionally close ties with the Rajapaksa regime, the envoy said that China deals with Lankan state and not with any particular regime.

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