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China plays down new Lankan govt's plan to review its projects

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

today played down assertions by top officials of Sri Lanka's new government that all infrastructure projects awarded by former Rajapaksa government to the communist nation would be reviewed, hoping the bilateral cooperation can go ahead in a "sound fashion".

"and are friendly neighbours. The cooperation between the two countries is based on mutual benefits and in the common interests of people of two countries," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing here.

"We believe that the relevant cooperation between and can go ahead in a sound fashion," Hong said when asked to respond to comments by top officials of the new government headed by Maithripala Sirisena that all the infrastructure projects awarded to China by the last government under will be reviewed.

In an interview, Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe had made it clear that the island nation will take necessary action where there is corruption in awarding a contract to any country, including China.

He said: "We are looking into all foreign contracts and local ones, and where there is corruption, we will certainly ensure we take action whether it is by Chinese or any other country."

Wary of Sri Lanka's new leaders before and after the elections, China has been maintaining that its projects, including the USD 1.4 billion Colombo Port city stated to be a key project for China's ambitious Maritime Silk Road project in India's backyard, were for the common benefit.

In his first reaction after the defeat of Rajapaksa government on January 9, Hong said: "We believe that new Sri Lankan government will carry on friendly policies towards China and lend their support to relevant projects to make sure that these projects are successful."

Chinese Ambassador to Colombo Wu Jianghao recently called on both Sirisena and Wickramasinghe and held talks with them.

First Published: Mon, January 19 2015. 18:05 IST