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Sri Lanka president to West: If you don't invest in us, we'll ask China for money

Christian Fernsby ▼ | December 1, 2019
Sri Lanka's new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has warned India and Western nations that his country will be forced to seek finance from China again if they do not invest in the island.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Asian economy   President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Mr Rajapaksa told The Hindu newspaper in an interview published on Sunday (Dec 1) that other Asian nations would also turn to China's giant Belt and Road infrastructure project without alternative help.

Topics: Sri Lanka China

Sri Lanka has traditionally been allied to India, but became close to China, securing about US$7 billion (S$9.57 billion) in loans and investment when Mr Rajapaksa's brother Mahinda was president from 2005 to 2015.

"I want to tell India, Japan, Singapore and Australia and other countries to also come and invest in us," said the President, who was in India this weekend on his first foreign trip since winning a presidential election on Nov 16.

"They should tell their companies to invest in Sri Lanka and help us grow, because if they do not, then not only Sri Lanka, but countries all over Asia will have the same (problem).

"The Chinese will take the Belt and Road initiative all over unless other countries provide an alternative."

"I believe that the Sri Lankan government must have control of all strategically important projects like Hambantota," he said in the interview.

"The next generation will curse our generation for giving away precious assets otherwise," he said.