“A FRUITFUL discussion with Chinese Minister,” says Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

“A FRUITFUL discussion with Chinese Minister,” says Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday said he had a “fruitful discussion” with Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe here and emphasized that the high-level visit will further strengthen bilateral ties.

Wei arrived here on a two-day visit for bilateral talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“Had a fruitful discussion with China defense minister General Wei Fenghe this morning. This visit will further strengthen the ties between two countries,” the president tweeted along with photographs of their meeting.

Gen. Wei is the second high-ranking Chinese official to visit the island nation after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court heard petitions on the constitutionality of the administrative body of the Port City built on the reclaimed sea.

The $1.4 billion worth project, which has been exempted from a series of local laws, has come under severe criticism from the Opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions which allege that the project violated the country’s sovereignty, the Constitution, and labour rights.

The five-member bench of the Supreme Court handed over its determination to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena after a 5-day hearing. The officials has said, It will be announced in the Parliament next week.

The Port City commission bill was challenged by the Opposition parties and civil society groups over its constitutionality. They want the bill to be subject to a referendum and a special two-thirds mandate in the Parliament.

Sri Lanka in recent years carried out various development projects with an estimated $8 billion loans.

The huge Chinese loans sparked concerns globally after Sri Lanka handed over the Hambantota port to China in 2017 as a debt swap amounting to $1.2 billion for a 99 years’ lease.

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