Sri Lankan Prime Minister Gunawardena arrives on six-day visit to China

Mar25,2024



New Delhi: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena arrived in Beijing on Monday for a six-day official visit, which will be the first visit by a Sri Lankan leader to Beijing after Colombo banned recurring visits of Chinese research vessels. Hambantota PortReportedly due to India's security concerns.
During the visit, he will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Qiang on ways to deepen Bilateral Relations,
Sri Lanka recently announced that it would allow foreign research vessels to dock at its ports for replenishment, despite a year-long ban on such activities.
Concerns have been raised globally about China infrastructure investment in Sri Lanka, notably following a 99-year lease of the Hambantota port in a debt-equity swap.
Gunawardena's visit also coincides with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reaching a staff-level agreement with Sri Lanka, paving the way for the country to access US$337 million from the approved US$3 billion bailout package in 2023. Has been expanded.
After defaulting on over US$51 billion of foreign debt last year, India extended nearly US$4 billion in assistance to Sri Lanka to help it overcome its economic challenges.
However, Sri Lanka's official data shows that China is the largest lender with 43%, followed by Japan with 23% and India with 15%.
, with inputs from agencies)



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