Sierens China: Not vindictive
The Chinese may at the port of Colombo building. Sri Lanka’s government settled with the decision for a long time. Beijing is not resentful, because China, the military needs, says DW columnist Frank Umbrella.
Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena had, in the past few months, made after other partners and looked around. Beijing, the so far reliable Partner, he showed the cold shoulder. Immediately after his election as President exactly one year ago, he had a huge port project is unceremoniously put on ice, yet his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa with the Chinese people had agreed. The official reason: lack of a study on the Umwelttauglichkeit of the Hafenprojektes.
To investments worth over one billion US dollars to stop, probably have other reasons for Sirisenas decision have played an important role. Because you really need the island funds for infrastructure projects, to get its economy moving again. Not really ride want the growth to be mainly due to the political instability of Sri Lanka. Two decades of ongoing civil wars and afterwards, rival political parties have the economic development for a long period of time, a damper is added to. China is one of the largest investors in the country. And the money from the people’s Republic is needed more than ever.
Distancing from the predecessor
Sirisena wanted, but from the heritage of its predecessor, the particularly good relations with China are said to have been distance. Because of this built are not only economic contacts with China continue to expand, but also the military. That’s why recently both India and the U.S. still frosty on the cozies up between Sri Lanka and China responds. Both India and the United States wanted above all to prevent that Beijing has more influence in Sri Lanka to win, and thus also its access to the strategically important sea lanes between the Gulf of Bengal and the Arabian sea ensures. Sirisena wanted, therefore, by the construction freeze also the waves, India and the USA smooth.
But neither the Indian President Modi nor US President Obama have such attractive offers, such as China. Sirisena has faster, than he bargained for was, must recognize that all do not Advertise helps if the bride only a measly dowry brings. About 70 percent of the infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, the Chinese have been financed. In just the past five years, Sri Lanka has also five billion US dollars in aid from Beijing.
Now, construction work resumed
So was last week given the green light. And the Chinese can already in February the Work on the port of Colombo. Officially was the inclusion of construction work on the grounds that the environmental studies had been completed, and now nothing more the construction in the way of the undertaking. A Detail has nevertheless changed. Instead, the Area on which it is built, to purchase, should the Chinese land at the port of Colombo only lease. A setback for Beijing.
Beijing had over a year ago announced 1.4 billion dollars in the “Port City Project” at the port of Colombo to invest. The huge port project is for the Expansion of the Maritime silk road, a strategically important point. Colombo is a pearl in the necklace of commercial ports to promote the Chinese are currently on the Indian ocean to build. For President Xi Jinping, it is the dream, beside the old trade routes of the ancient silk road, a maritime silk road to build, to Asia and Europe to bring closer.
Billions of dollars of investment by AIIB
Also the Asian infrastructure investment Bank (AIIB) with an initial capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars, was dedicated to the Expansion of the Seidenstraßenprojekte founded. Xi drove at the time, even for the first groundbreaking ceremony for a state visit to Sri Lanka. And already in September 2014, has been diligently working on the 244-acre Site will be built. On the site should be in addition to Hochtechnologiefirmen also the manufacturing industry to settle and a new financial center will emerge. For Sri Lankan President Sirisena like there is no love match. But at least it is an Alliance, the one to the other nothing nachträgt.
Our correspondent Frank Umbrella lives since over 20 years ago in Beijing.