Former Sri Lankan President denies US media report on links with China

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Sunday, strong denied a US media report over his links with China. Rajapaksa rejected a New York Times report which accused him...

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Sunday, strong denied a US media report over his links with China.

Rajapaksa rejected a New York Times report which accused him of receiving 7.6 million USD for his election campaign in 2015 from a Chinese company.

The former President said that the current Government had investigated and cleared the Chinese company any wrongdoing and a major port city project which it was involved in was handed back to them.

The New York Times also alleged that China financed the Hambantota Port project in the south of Sri Lanka with the ulterior motive of ensnaring Sri Lanka in a debt trap even though the feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work.

“That is not true. Two feasibility studies under two different Governments recommended the building of the Hambantota port,” Rajapaksa said.

He also said that the Hambantota port was actually built at a lower cost than estimates in the initial feasibility reports.

Rajapaksa also noted that the port made an operating profit of Sri Lankan rupees 900 million in 2014 and rupees. 1,200 million in 2015.

“These are investments that last centuries and a new harbour that opened in 2011 cannot be expected to produce profits by 2012,” the former President said.

He also said that though the writer claims that China has got the Hambantota harbor (with its industrial zone of 5000 acres) and an additional 15,000 acres from Sri Lanka due to a debt trap that China inveigled Sri Lanka into, there was never a Chinese debt trap as alleged.

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