China hopes for political stability in Sri Lanka after PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat in trust vote

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Beijing | Published: November 14, 2018 2:57:34 PM

A concerned China today expressed hope that Sri Lanka, where it has made huge investments, would see the return of stability as pro-Beijing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out by a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

China has high stakes in Sri Lanka since it invested over USD eight billion in the island during the previous tenure of Rajapaksa as president who is widely regarded as pro-China.

A concerned China today expressed hope that Sri Lanka, where it has made huge investments, would see the return of stability as pro-Beijing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out by a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Asked about the Sri Lankan Parliament passing a resolution of no-confidence against Rajapaksa after the nation’s Supreme Court issued a stay order against President Maithripala Sirisena’s order to dissolve the national legislature, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said here that Beijing is closely following the evolving situation in Sri Lanka.

“China is a traditional friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka. We are closely following the situation unfolding there,” she said. “We hope Sri Lanka will see stability and we believe that parties have the wisdom and capability to deal with the situation,” she said. China has high stakes in Sri Lanka since it invested over USD eight billion in the island, including the Hambantota port and the Colombo port project, during the previous tenure of Rajapaksa as president who is widely regarded as pro-China.

Sirisena’s government subsequently handed over Hambantota port on a 99-year lease to China in a USD 1.1 billion debt swap deal raising concerns in India as Beijing stepped up its presence in the Indian Ocean.

In a major setback to Sirisena, the Sri Lankan Parliament on Wednesday passed a no-confidence motion against the government headed by his controversially-appointed Prime Minister Rajapaksa after the president sacked Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier on October 26 and suspended Parliament, plunging the island nation into a political crisis.

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