In The Press

Chinese President Xi Jinping launches $1.4 billion Sri Lanka port city


COLOMBO- Describing Sri Lanka as an "all-weather" friend, China today put bilateral ties on a firm footing with President Xi Jinping launching the construction of a $1.4 billion port city, the single largest FDI project in the country being built on an artificial island near here.

Ahead of his India visit, Xi wrapped up his two-day trip to the island nation this morning by visiting Colombo harbour where he along with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the Colombo Port City Project to build a modern city on a land reclaimed from the sea.

The $1.4 billion project is the single largest foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka and is being built alongside an existing Chinese-built container terminal, the only mega port in South Asia.

The project has potential to attract about $5 billion from all over the world, the Sri Lankan government said in a statement.

Construction of the port city is being carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company under an MoU signed between Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China Communication Construction Company.

The proposed city will be built on 583 acres of land reclaimed from the sea.

Once completed the offshore city will have sport complexes, mini golf course, housing and office complexes, luxury hotels and many other modern facilities, the Colombo Page reported.

The massive project is expected to generate thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities in Sri Lanka.

According to China Harbour Engineering Company over 70 per cent of the workforce will be recruited from Sri Lanka for the project.

Xi held talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart yesterday during which the two countries clinched defence and maritime security cooperation deals with Colombo pledging to support silk trade route.

Xi also met Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa today.

"China regards Sri Lanka as an all-weather friend and partner," Xi said during his meeting with the Speaker.

China appreciates Sri Lanka's stance to support China on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet, Xi said.

China supports Sri Lanka's efforts in safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and will contribute to Sri Lanka's economic and social development as always, he said.

China and Sri Lanka have agreed to strengthen defence cooperation and to maintain the momentum of visits between the two defence authorities and military forces at all levels.