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China defends Lanka envoy's comments over Chinese loans

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

today defended comments by its ambassador to over criticism against high charged on Chinese loans to the country, saying he had only "clarified some misunderstandings and misleading remarks" on bilateral cooperation.

"The Chinese Ambassador to exchanged views with friends from the media on China-relations and the status quo of bilateral cooperation and clarified some misunderstandings and misleading remarks regarding China-cooperation at a seminar," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

"The candid exchange of views on relevant cooperation between and is conducive to the sound development of bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation as they are good friends that and help each other," Kang said in a written response to PTI on a question over reports about the controversy stirred up by Chinese envoy to Yi Xianliang's remarks.

Reports from Colombo said that may summon Yi to convey Colombo's displeasure over his remarks.

Yi reportedly refuted criticism that has granted hefty loans to during the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa government with higher and asked why always turns to if the interest is high as claimed by some Sri Lankan ministers.

Yi was quoted as saying that has regular, or fixed interest ratio of two per cent for any developing country and not only for

"If you don't like this one, why you come again, to talk with me about another one," he asked reportedly referring to criticism from Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake who said Chinese loans carried higher

Responding to Yi's comments Karunanayake said "If he says they have not given loans with interest more than two percent we are happy - because then we have only have to pay two per cent then".

The reports said besides defending Chinese loans, Yi also criticised the slow progress of some Chinese-funded projects.

"The Chinese do not get involved in local politics and will work with the government in power. The Chinese firms have not bribed Sri Lankans to do business in the country," he said last week adding that "has no hidden agenda in and conducts its affairs with the government in an open and transparent manner".

Sri Lanka's paper Daily quoted Yi as saying that has completed infrastructure projects worth USD 15.5 billion in by the end of 2015.

Commenting on the suspension of work in the port city project in Colombo after the government of President Maithripala Sirisena came to power to investigate the irregularities, Yi said this had caused a loss of USD 140 million to the Chinese company involved.

The work on the USD 1.4 billion project was subsequently resumed after the new government renegotiated the terms.

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

First Published: Tue, November 08 2016. 17:22 IST