Sri Lanka is shifting a naval base to a port constructed and managed by China, it stated on Monday, a transfer that may strengthen safety at a harbor that international powers concern China may use for navy functions.
The bottom presently within the vacationer district of Galle will likely be moved 125 km (80 miles) east alongside Sri Lanka’s southern coast to Hambantota, nearer a essential transport route between Asia and Europe.
The $1.5 billion deepwater port is prone to play a significant position in China’s “Belt and Highway” initiative and is beneath a 99-year lease to China Retailers Port Holdings at a value of $1.12 billion.
Authorities and diplomatic sources have informed Reuters that the US, India and Japan have raised considerations that China may use the port as a naval base.
The Sri Lankan authorities and Chinese language embassy in Colombo have denied that and the settlement for the port deal included a clause that it can’t be used for navy goal.
“Sri Lanka has already knowledgeable China that Hambantota port can’t be used for navy functions,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s workplace stated in an announcement. “For the reason that safety of the port will likely be beneath the management of Sri Lanka navy, there isn’t any must concern.”
A naval unit has already been established in Hambantota and building work for the bottom is beneath approach, navy spokesman Dinesh Bandara stated.