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Ports Minister Resists Chinese Investment

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The Ports Minister for Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga, has declared his objection to a 99 year lease of the Hambantota port to the Chinese, according to local media sources.

The legality of the lease is under fire, the minister is instead proposing a privatisation deal; the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe has stated that 80% of the port will be sold to China for US$1 billion upfront on leasehold.

The same lease was used to hand Hong Kong over to the British Empire under the second convention; both the Ports Minister and his Deputy have publically disagreed to the deal, stating space was granted for privatisation by a concession of around 35 years.

National security concerns have also been raised by the Minister, and he is not the only government official concerned about Chinese take-overs of national infrastructure, many other countries are also attempting to restrict Chinese investment, as profits often become the only priority and the welfare of the state can be ignored.

Forbes recently reported that the Ranil Wickremesinghe had recently declared that Sri Lanka was on the cusp of a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to jump start its infrastructure in a bid to develop the economy. He said: “If we miss this chance now, we are going to miss it altogether.”

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