China has not asked Sri Lanka to restrict the Hambantota industrial zone to Chinese companies, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said today.
“Let me be very clear, – China has never asked Sri Lanka to allow only Chinese enterprises to operate in the Hambantota industrial zone,” she said, She added the recent protests in Hambantota were because people did not understand the policies negotiated between the Chinese and Sri Lankan governments.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson also said China had not forced Sri Lanka – which owes China a massive USD 8 billion – to offer concessions on the port project.
“The Chinese enterprises have always discussed the Hambantota Port project with the Sri Lankan side on a voluntary basis, in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit, and following market rules,” she said.
“As the two countries are friendly neighbors, China is willing to provide the best assistance to help Sri Lanka with its economic development, to achieve common development.
This is in the interests of both countries.”