Sri Lanka says no Chi­nese mil­i­tary base at port

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Colombo, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka re­jected on Wed­nes­day US claims that China might es­tab­lish a ‘for­ward mil­i­tary base’ at a strate­gic port leased to Bei­jing by the in­debted is­land na­tion.

Sri Lanka last year granted a 99-year lease on the Ham­ban­tota deep-sea port to Bei­jing, af­ter it was un­able to re­pay Chi­nese loans for the US$1.4bn project. The port is one of sev­eral projects be­ing funded un­der China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Last week US Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence said Ham­ban­tota may soon be­come a for­ward mil- itary base for China’s blue-wa­ter navy. But Sri Lankan Prime Min­is­ter Ranil Wick­remesinghe’s of­fice said that there would be no for- eign mil­i­tary pres­ence at Ham­ban­tota, and that the US State De­part­ment had been briefed.

(AFP)

The port fa­cil­ity at Ham­ban­tota

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