China has no “hidden agenda” in Sri Lanka and conducts its affairs with the government in an “open and transparent manner”, the Chinese Ambassador here has said. While addressing local editors on Tuesday, Yi Xianliang said the Sri Lankan public and local media have a wrong image about the Chinese involvement in the country. “The Chinese do not get involved in local politics and will work with the government in power. The Chinese firms have not bribed Sri Lankans to do business in the country,” he said.
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Yi added that “China has no hidden agenda in Sri Lanka and conducts its affairs with the government in an open and transparent manner”. Sri Lanka should not politicise economic cooperation, he said in an obvious reference to the current government’s suspension of the Colombo Port City project which was a pet initiative of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The envoy said the Chinese company had suffered a loss of approximately USD 140 million from the time the project was suspended by the new government and the time it was resumed. He called for policy consistency from Sri Lanka as China is now working with Sri Lanka to strengthen its economy and to develop the country. He denied the current government’s claims that China had extended commercial loans to Sri Lanka at high rates of interest during the Rajapaksa government.
Yi discussed the issue with Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and told him that he should not ask for more loans from China if the interest rates were high as claimed.