By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): China reiterated that their companies are willing to invest in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka in a big way in spite of India’s similar interest in Tamil dominated areas.
Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong who recently visited the Northern Province for the second time said Chinese enterprises are keen to invest in the north.
China’s latest attempt to develop its footprint in northern Sri Lanka within the garb of infrastructure initiatives is welcome sign for the people living in once war torn area
The Chinese embassy said the ambassador made his second visit to donate 5,000 boxes of dry rations worth Rs. 37.5 million under the Faxian Charity Project to needy families in Jaffna, Vavunia, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and Mannar.
Ten donation ceremonies were held in district secretariats, Buddhist temples, Hindu kovil, and church, benefiting a large number of local people.
Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, “China and Sri Lanka enjoy a longstanding traditional friendship which has withstood the test of the time. No matter what difficulty and challenge our Sri Lankan friends encounter, China has stood and will always stand firmly with you and provide assistance to the best of our capability.
By emphasizing the friendly relations of the two countries, Ambassador Qi further mentioned that the Chinese government has promised to donate Rs. 150 million to the Northern Province to buy food rations, fishing nets, and to build housing units.
He said, “President Wickremesinghe paid a successful visit to China, reaching an agreement with President Xi Jinping to facilitate the export of Sri Lankan seafood to China. China is the second largest economy with a huge market.
We look forward to importing more seafood from Sri Lanka instead of exporting them to you. Chinese enterprises are interested in investing in the Northern Province and I hope you will welcome and support them,” he said
However “Proliferation of Chinese economic activity and proposed infrastructure development projects in the Northern province of Sri Lanka, which could be later exploited for strategic reasons, is certainly a matter of concern for India,” indian media, highlighted.
Earlier, the Chinese initiatives have been largely restricted to southern Sri Lanka.
But the government is now facilitating several Chinese ventures in northern Sri Lanka as well.
India has already protested in opposition to Sri Lanka’s choice to award a $12 million hybrid wind and photovoltaic power undertaking to the Chinese Sinosar-Etechwin three way partnership in three islets off the Jaffna Peninsula.
With the islets being barely 50 km from the Tamil Nadu coast, India has countered with a suggestion of a $12 million grant to Sri Lanka for execution of the initiatives.
“Another Chinese joint venture has been allotted land in a coastal village in northern Sri Lanka for farming sea cucumber fish despite protests by local farmers.