BBC Chinese recently reported that the government of Sri Lanka reached and signed an agreement with China which will give China full control of the deep-sea port of Hambantota. Sri Lanka explained that, under the US$1.1 billion for 99 years agreement, China will only use the port for commercial purposes. The deal had been shelved for months due to the concern that China might use the port for military purposes. Port Hambantota sits at a critical spot that connects Asia and Europe on the Indian Ocean. According to the Sri Lanka government, the income collected can be used to pay off foreign debts. However, the plan requires moving thousands of villagers out of the region. The government promised new land for these people. Port Hambantota is an important part of China’s “The Belt and Road” grand plan. Multiple China’s trade arch-rivals, such as India and Japan, have been paying close attention to this latest development in the region.
Source: BBC Chinese, July 29, 2017