Sri Lanka has selected a Chinese company to build the second phase of the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Port of Colombo. This could warn other Asian powers given the ambitions of Beijing’s Maritime Silk Road.
In a cabinet decision on Tuesday, Beijing-based China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) was approved by Colombo for the development of a strategic port terminal.
In 2019, the country’s port authorities signed a preliminary agreement with India’s Adani Group and Japan to build an ECT, which was abandoned by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration in February.
For the past decade, China has poured money into South Asian islands under the 2013 Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as the “Belt and Road”) infrastructure plan. ..
The BRI initially consisted of two main components. Silk Road Economic Belt And that 21st Century Maritime Silk Road— And in recent years Digital Silk Road, NS Arctic Silk Road, NS Healthy silk road, And that Space Silk Road Added.
The $ trillion Global Infrastructure Fund has been accused of being a means by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its global hegemony.
Some developing countries are struggling to repay BRI-based loans, forcing Beijing to take over control of key assets and infrastructure in some cases.
So in 2017, Sri Lanka handed over a major strategic port and 15,000 acres of land to China on a 99-year lease after debt to China’s state-owned enterprises swelled. Hambantota Harbor was acquired by China after months of negotiations and strong pressure to liquidate $ 1.4 billion in debt.
Sources familiar with the bidding process said Hindus CHEC’s role in the development of the second phase of the ECT at Colombo Port seems to be limited to civil engineering work.
Sri Lanka is the key to the battle for influence in South Asia, given that Beijing is also involved in the construction and operation of other important infrastructures in the country, and is becoming more and more popular between India and China. doing.
The island nation is an important staging post for many of the cargo entering and exiting India, and China’s growing influence has warned New Delhi and Washington.
Reuters contributed to this report.