In a recent development, China has expressed its willingness to assist Sri Lanka without imposing any political conditions and has also pledged to increase its imports from the island nation. Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed this commitment during a meeting with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Beijing, as reported by state media.
This assurance comes shortly after Sri Lanka announced an agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China to address a portion of its debt woes, amounting to $4.2 billion. It's worth noting that Sri Lanka has approximately $7 billion in debt owed to Chinese lenders, comprising both bilateral and commercial agreements.
During their meeting, President Xi emphasized the importance of advancing key projects that China has supported as part of its 'Belt and Road' initiative, specifically mentioning the Colombo port city and Hambantota projects. These projects hold strategic significance for both nations.
President Xi stated, "China is willing to continue to provide assistance to Sri Lanka without attaching political conditions, to help it cope with the difficulties it faces." This gesture reflects China's commitment to supporting Sri Lanka in addressing its economic challenges without imposing any external political influences.
Last year, Sri Lanka faced financial difficulties that led to a default on its foreign debt obligations due to dwindling dollar reserves, making it challenging to finance essential imports, including fuel and medicine.
Furthermore, China has expressed its intention to expand its imports of Sri Lankan products and encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in the country. This commitment not only signifies economic cooperation but also highlights China's interest in strengthening its trade relations with Sri Lanka.
Overall, China's willingness to offer assistance to Sri Lanka without political conditions and to boost imports underscores the importance of the bilateral relationship and their shared commitment to economic development and cooperation.