The new Sri Lankan government has informed China that it will continue the development of suspended Chinese projects, including a multi-billion-dollar mega port city, a Chinese special envoy said on Friday.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters that during his talks with the Sri Lankan leaders, they had informed him that the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project would see a re-start at the earliest possible date.
The 1.4-billion-U.S. dollar project, funded by the China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC), was suspended by the government of President Maithripala Sirisena in March for a review of the contract.
Construction of the Colombo Port City began in September 2014 under the previous Mahinda Rajapakse government.
“It has direct foreign investment from China worth 1.4 billion U.S. dollars and this investment can further trigger foreign investment totaling 13 billion U.S. dollars and bring in about 83, 000 job opportunities,” Liu said.
“Sri Lanka should implement the already signed agreements of the Port City project and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the investors. I have received a positive response from the Sri Lankan side and the leaders have made it clear that they will firmly put forward the Colombo Port City project and with joint efforts the project will see a re-start of construction at an early date,” he added.
Liu said the Chinese government hoped the Port City could be completed in three to five years.
The Sri Lankan government has expressed its hope to include the project under its megapolis development plan in order to transform the capital and the country into a technologically advanced and smart nation.
Liu, who is also a special envoy of the Chinese government, said the two sides had agreed to work together in building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and further coordinate their development strategies so as to achieve a win-win cooperation.
China and Sri Lanka will also make best use of China’s grant assistance to the island nation for the 2014-2016 period announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to the island nation last year.
“The assistance will prioritize medical and health care, education, water conservancy and other programs related to people’ s well being, such as the construction of a kidney hospital,” he said. “This will make the China-Sri Lanka cooperation deliver more benefits to the Sri Lankan people.”