China said on Tuesday it has worked with Sri Lanka on the Port of
Hambantota in an equal and mutually beneficial way, dismissing United
States media reports that it took over the port through "a debt trap".
"China has encouraged Chinese companies to carry out the cooperation
on the basis of equality and mutual benefit and according to business
principles," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a daily news
Chinese financial institutions offered support to help Sri Lanka
resolve the shortage of funds for the project and later worked to
readjust the allocation of assets according to Sri Lanka's wish, Lu
"All this is commercial cooperation that favors both sides," he said.
Lu made the remarks after a New York Times story on June 25 said
China got Sri Lanka to "cough up" Hambantota Port by using "a debt
The report also cited concerns that China might use the port
militarily, even though an agreement it has with Sri Lanka forbids such
activity without Sri Lanka's invitation.
"Such reports that gravely distort facts were made either out of
irresponsibility or under the orders of people with ulterior motives,"
Lu said. "We hope relevant media is not really keen on fake news."
It is the wish of successive Sri Lankan governments and the Sri Lankan people to build Hambantota Port, the spokesman said.
"If people who made up the lies of the so-called debt trap cannot
provide concrete help to developing countries, they can at least
maintain a healthy mindset toward other countries' sincere cooperation,"
China and Sri Lanka are committed to keep pushing ahead with the port
cooperation to make Sri Lanka into a logistics center in the Indian
Ocean, Lu added.
In April, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said "there is no
need" to speculate over the port cooperation from a military or other
The Chinese-built Hambantota Port is a deepwater facility in Hambantota district of Sri Lanka's Southern province.
Last July, China Merchants Port Holdings and the Sri Lanka Ports
Authority signed an agreement valid for 99 years giving China a 70
percent stake in two joint ventures that will take charge of the port's
commercial and administrative management operations, according to Xinhua