12:45 am, Thursday, 25 April 2024

Sri Lankan PM arrives in China for state visit

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena arrived in China Monday for a visit during which he will meet President Xi Jinping and is expected to discuss restructuring Colombo’s vast debts to its biggest overseas creditor.

Chinese officials greeted Gunawardena with a bouquet and a red-carpet welcome at an airport on the outskirts of Beijing before a motorcade whisked him into the capital, footage by state broadcaster CCTV showed, AFP reports.

China’s foreign ministry said Friday that Xi and Gunawardena would conduct “an in-depth exchange of views on continuing the China-Sri Lanka traditional friendship”.

As well as meeting Xi, Gunawardena will attend the Boao Forum, a high-profile international meeting on the island province of Hainan, before his departure on Saturday, according to official statements by both countries.

Ties between Beijing and Colombo have come under scrutiny during Sri Lanka’s years-long economic crisis.

Beijing accounts for around 10 percent of the island nation’s total foreign
debt.

Last year, Sri Lanka secured a $2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), conditional on a debt deal that satisfies the island nation’s foreign creditors.

The IMF said last week it had reached a staff-level agreement with Colombo to clear the way for the release of $337 million, the third instalment of the four-year bailout.

But it said the “critical” next steps were to finalise agreements with creditors.

China agreed “in principle” to a restructuring in December, but neither side have given details and the two are yet to seal a final deal.

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Sri Lankan PM arrives in China for state visit

Update Time : 06:38:27 pm, Monday, 25 March 2024

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena arrived in China Monday for a visit during which he will meet President Xi Jinping and is expected to discuss restructuring Colombo’s vast debts to its biggest overseas creditor.

Chinese officials greeted Gunawardena with a bouquet and a red-carpet welcome at an airport on the outskirts of Beijing before a motorcade whisked him into the capital, footage by state broadcaster CCTV showed, AFP reports.

China’s foreign ministry said Friday that Xi and Gunawardena would conduct “an in-depth exchange of views on continuing the China-Sri Lanka traditional friendship”.

As well as meeting Xi, Gunawardena will attend the Boao Forum, a high-profile international meeting on the island province of Hainan, before his departure on Saturday, according to official statements by both countries.

Ties between Beijing and Colombo have come under scrutiny during Sri Lanka’s years-long economic crisis.

Beijing accounts for around 10 percent of the island nation’s total foreign
debt.

Last year, Sri Lanka secured a $2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), conditional on a debt deal that satisfies the island nation’s foreign creditors.

The IMF said last week it had reached a staff-level agreement with Colombo to clear the way for the release of $337 million, the third instalment of the four-year bailout.

But it said the “critical” next steps were to finalise agreements with creditors.

China agreed “in principle” to a restructuring in December, but neither side have given details and the two are yet to seal a final deal.