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China reacts to suspended Sri Lanka port project

2015-03-07 09:40 Xinhua Web Editor: Sun Tian

China on Friday urged Sri Lanka to maintain the legitimate interests of Chinese enterprises after the new Sri Lankan government suspended a China-funded port project in Colombo.

"We have been informed by the Sri Lankan government of the decision, which stressed the project was 'suspended', not 'cancelled'," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

The Sri Lankan government announced on Thursday that it had suspended the 1.5-billion-U.S.-dollar Chinese project in Colombo based on a reevaluation of the deal. Stakeholders were reportedly concerned over the project's environmental standards and a lack of transparency in the deal.

China will closely follow the development of the situation, Hua said, urging Sri Lanka to "properly resolve the issue in a way that helps Sri Lanka's development and maintains the confidence of Chinese firms investing in Sri Lanka".

"The Sri Lankan side promised to keep in contact and consultation with China regarding following arrangements," Hua told a regular press briefing.

Sri Lanka is also holding investigations into its cooperative projects with other countries, she added.

Construction of the port, handled by the China Communications Construction Company, was started during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure. It was scheduled to offer 83,000 jobs to local people.

After Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena took office in January, the new government decided to re-examine the port project and reconsider the outright transfer of a parcel of land to China under the deal.

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