China to work with int’l community, financial institutions to ease SL’s debt burden

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China is ready to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role in supporting Sri Lanka’s response to current difficulties and efforts to ease its debt burden and realise sustainable development, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing on Friday
(15 July), its Foreign Ministry website reported.

Wang was responding to a question posed by Bloomberg where he was asked, “Sri Lanka’s ambassador to China said his nation is continuing negotiations with China for aid. As part of that financing, he said Colombo is asking for a loan to repay Chinese debt. How does China respond to the diplomat’s remarks?”

Wang further said shortly after the Sri Lankan Government announced to suspend international debt payments, Chinese financial institutions reached out to the Sri Lankan side and expressed their readiness to find a proper way to handle the matured debts related to China and help Sri Lanka to overcome the current difficulties.

He also said that China has been closely following the current difficulties and challenges faced by Sri Lanka and providing assistance for its socioeconomic development to the best of its capacity. “Over the past months, the Chinese Government announced a total of RMB500 million worth of emergency humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. On Thursday (14 July), the second batch of emergency humanitarian food assistance provided by China was delivered to Sri Lanka.

 Besides, through government-to-government and subnational channels and through friendly organisations, China has provided multiple batches of various types of assistance to people across the sectors of Sri Lanka to improve their livelihood,” Wang further said.

By Paneetha Ameresekere