TIME Sri Lanka

China Will Build an Extensive Port City in Sri Lanka’s Capital

A container ship is pictured docked at the Colombo South Harbor funded by China in Sri Lanka
Dinuka Liyanawatte—REUTERS A container ship is pictured docked at Sri Lanka's Colombo South Harbor, funded by China, on Jan. 21, 2016

Some see the huge development as part of a plan by Beijing to boost China's influence in the Indian Ocean

China will go ahead with its plans to build a massive port facility in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, despite earlier political hurdles stemming from environmental concerns.

The $1.4 billion proposal, announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2014 but later suspended by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, will amount to a city within a city planted along Colombo’s main harbor, Agence France-Presse reported. It will include housing facilities, a Formula One racetrack, and a marina, collectively adding 575 acres of new real estate to the city.

Sri Lankan authorities finally approved the plan on Thursday subject to “limitations and conditions stipulated in the EIA (environmental impact assessment).”

China is Sri Lanka’s biggest lender and a vital engine of infrastructure investment in the island nation. The relationship between the two countries, however, has raised some eyebrows, with some accusing Beijing of exploiting Sri Lanka in the interest of bolstering Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.


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