Sri Lanka’s cabinet ‘clears port deal’ with China firm

Sri Lanka’s cabinet today cleared a revised agreement for leasing majority stake in Hambantota port to a Chinese state owned company.

The agreement tries to allay concerns by several other countries saying Sri Lanka will have control over port activities including security.

Ports minister Mahinda Samarsinghe told a press conference in Colombo that no military ships will be allowed in the port.

Under the new deal, the Sri Lankan government has sought to limit China’s role to running commercial operations at the port while it has oversight of broader security. India has raised concern in 2014 when a Chinese submarine docked in Colombo, where another Chinese firm is building a 1.4 billion US dollars port city on reclaimed land.

The agreement will bring a revenue of 1.12 billion US dollars over next months which is required for debt-ridden Sri Lankan economy. It will be discussed in Parliament on Friday before final signature.

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