China welcomes Lankan president’s remarks over Hambantota Port

China has said that it respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and that the security and control of Hambantota port is entirely in the hands of the Sri Lankan government.

A press statement issued by the Chinese embassy in Colombo today said it is willing to guide relevant enterprises to work with Sri Lankan side to expedite the implementation of the agreement and further promote the development of the port.

The statement came as Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that his government will not renegotiate the commercial terms of the agreement but is looking into the security aspects of the deal.

He has clarified that the security control of military ships entering Sri Lankan waters should remain with the Sri Lankan government. The Chinese side welcomed the President position saying commercial contract that has been signed will not be changed due to government changes.

The earlier government in Sri Lanka had leased the port operations to a Chinese company for 99 years.

The move had invited concern from western nations and others including India. President Rajapaksa, on taking over last month, had said that he will like to renegotiate the agreement which had created ruffles in the Chinese side.

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