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Chinese makes its presence felt at CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka

Beijing: Though not a member of the Commonwealth, China made its presence felt at the CHOGM by providing millions of dollars in aid to Sri Lanka to refurbish the summit venues, besides striking lucrative commercial deals worth $ 1.5 billion, official media here reported today.

Much of the infrastructure for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo was funded by China, including a $ 292 million highway connecting the capital's international airport to the main city, that whisked thousands of delegates, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The venues for the opening ceremony and the main sessions of the CHOGM were also built or refurbished by funds from China, reflecting on the close ties between Colombo and Beijing, the report said.

 Chinese makes its presence felt at CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka

AFP

"We thank the partnership of the Chinese government, and the business organisations, in our development projects. Bilateral trade between our two countries has been increasing over the years to record 2.6 billion in 2012," Sri Lanka's Trade Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said.

Three Chinese companies has signed deals worth over $1.5 billion with Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF), held on the sidelines of this week's CHOGM summit.

The CBF saw a record attendance by 95 countries, including a 100 member delegation from China, the largest from a non-Commonwealth nation.

The China Communications Construction Company signed preliminary agreements to build a port city redefining the shoreline of capital Colombo at an investment of $ 1.3 billion, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

A second agreement will be signed between Sri Lanka's Board of Investment (BOI) and Hong Kong-based Evic International Engineering Co and Nice View Investment Co. for a $250 million multi-development project that will include a block of apartments in Colombo, the report said.

The China Harbor Engineering Company signed agreements to build two hotels and a golf course with an investment exceeding $500 million during the CBF.

The three-day long 23rd CHOGM in Colombo ended today. Since, Sri Lanka's three decade long war with LTTE ended in 2009, China has emerged as the island's largest creditor with $1.2 billion in loans in 2009 and USD 821 million in 2010. In 2011, the amount fell to $784.7 million, but China remains involved in almost all the large scale projects taking place in Sri Lanka, the report said.

Some of the biggest projects include a $1.3 billion coal power plant on the northwestern shore. There are a host of other investments in the south of the country that are estimated to exceed USD 4 billion, including a $1.2 billion harbour.

PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2013 22:19:21 IST