China on Wednesday (8) has expressed willingness to work with India and the international community to help Sri Lanka tide over its crushing economic crisis.
“We have taken note that the Indian government has also done a lot in this regard. We commend those efforts. China is ready to work with India and the rest of the international community to help Sri Lanka and other developing countries experiencing difficulty to pull through the hardship as early as possible. I assume you have also noticed the recent shipment and arrival of medicine, rice and other supplies donated by the Chinese side, including provinces and cities, to Sri Lanka. The Chinese government will do its utmost and make full use of the channels available to deliver help to the Sri Lankan society,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
In a media briefing held in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian outlined the Chinese government’s recent humanitarian assistance totaling 500 million RMB (approximately $73 million) to Sri Lanka.
“As traditional friendly neighbors, China pays close attention to and feels for the difficulties and challenges facing Sri Lanka. We have all along provided support to Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development as long as our ability permits. China has announced that it would provide emergency humanitarian assistance worth 500 million RMB for Sri Lanka. The first delivery of medicine has arrived in Sri Lanka, and the first shipment of rice has left China for Sri Lanka. Through government-to-government and subnational channels and through friendly organizations, China has provided multiple batches of assistance in diverse forms to people across the sectors of Sri Lanka to improve their livelihood,” said the Spokesperson.
He also said that shortly after the Sri Lankan government announced to suspend international debt payments, Chinese financial institutions reached out to the Sri Lankan side and expressed their readiness to find a proper way to handle the matured debts related to China and help Sri Lanka to overcome the current difficulties.
“We hope Sri Lanka will work actively with China in a similar spirit and work out a feasible solution expeditiously. China is ready to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role in supporting Sri Lanka’s response to current difficulties and efforts to ease debt burden and realize sustainable development. In the meantime, we believe Sri Lanka will boost its own effort, protect the legitimate rights and interests of the investment and financing partners and ensure the stability and credibility of Sri Lanka’s investment and financing environment,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian
China’s official acknowledgement of Indian assistance to Sri Lanka — totalling $ 3.5 billion this year by way of currency swaps, loan deferments, and credit lines — is significant, coming amid a well-known geopolitical contest between the two powers in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka, which needs $6 billion to wade through the next six months, has also sought help from China and Japan.
Source : Chinese Foreign Ministry