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How China wrung out a strategic port from Sri Lanka using a debt trap

John Adams said infamously that a way to subjugate a country is through either the sword or debt

Maria Abi-Habib | NYT  |  Hambantota (Sri Lanka) 

Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes. Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa. Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Company, one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by ...

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First Published: Wed, June 27 2018. 01:34 IST