Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has strongly denied reports of Chinese militarization of the Chinese funded Hambantota Port, in southern Sri Lanka, and stressed the Sri Lankan Navy was the sole military force responsible for the security of the Port.
During discussions with China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, Wickremesinghe said some foreign media irresponsibly hyped the question of militarization of the Hambantota Port out of their own hidden agenda, but time would eventually prove that the Hambantota Port was destined to embrace a prosperous and bright future in business.
Responding to the allegations of Chinese militarization at Hambantota Port, Ambassador Cheng pointed out that there was no military purpose for China to conduct friendly and pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka.
“China never interferes in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs and is willing to work with the Sri Lankan side to push forward the latter’s economic and social development by promoting new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, win-win cooperation,” the Ambassador said.
He further said China attached great importance to the relations with Sri Lanka, and wished to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries to actively push forward the practical cooperation under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative, so as to bring tangible benefits to the two countries and peoples.
In discussions with Sri Lanka’s Navy Commander S. Ranasinghe, Ambassador Cheng said there were some baseless foreign speculations that the Hambantota Port might be used for military purpose and China and Sri Lanka should keep vigilant against such kind of rumors.
He stressed that both countries must strengthen communication and coordination so as to prevent the China-Sri Lankan relations and cooperation from being disturbed or damaged.
Ranasingha, agreeing with the Chinese Ambassador’s views said that from the first day of operation of the Hambantota Port, the sole commercial use of the port had been clearly defined through legal forms.
Ranasingha said that recently, a warship of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force smoothly berthed for supplies at the Hambantota Port, reflecting the openness and commercial nature of the port.
“It is believed that these unfounded suspicions and rumours will collapse of themselves as more and more vessels including warships from various countries berth for supplies at the Port,” Ranasingha said. (newsasia.in)