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China approves $1 bn loan for Sri Lanka expressway

AFP  |  Colombo 

has approved a USD 1 billion loan to revive a long-delayed expressway in central Sri Lanka, the island's government said today.

Construction of the first phase of the road linking the capital with the hill resort of Kandy had been delayed for more than two years due to a lack of foreign funding, according to

Ranil Wickremesinghe's office said he met the Chinese today, who told him had decided to approve the loan that will be provided through

has emerged as the largest single lender to in recent years, securing contracts to build roads, railways and ports under the former government of Mahinda Rajapakse.

After Wickremesinghe came to power in January 2015, many projects were suspended pending investigations into corruption allegations, but construction work has recently restarted following renegotiations.

Last August, China took over a loss-making deep-sea port in the island's south on a 99-year lease under a USD 1.1 billion deal.

is a key hub for Indian cargo, and has been accused of seeking to develop facilities around the to counter the rise of its rival and secure its own economic interests.

Under Sri Lanka's former regime, China began a controversial $1.4 billion land reclamation project next to

There are plans to build a new city centre on the land, with Chinese firms set to invest another billion to construct three 60-storey buildings.

The project was formally launched after a visit to by Chinese in 2014 but work was suspended by the new administration.

It resumed after the state-owned entered into a fresh agreement with the new regime in August 2016.

The 269-hectare (665-acre) reclamation is due to be completed next year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 14 2018. 22:55 IST
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