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Chinese Ministerial Visit to Sri Lanka Concludes

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Chinese Ministerial Visit to Sri Lanka Concludes

Chinese Ministerial Visit
A previous Chinese ministerial visit saw Chinese chief diplomat Wang Yi meet with former Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa | Photo: The Guardian

A Chinese Ministerial visit to Sri Lanka will conclude today.

Arriving on January 14, the CCP’s delegation was led by the International Department Vice Minister Chen Zhou. With a visit to Colombo by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar up next, it is evident that Sri Lanka is trying to restructure debt owed to its largest creditors to secure a $2.9 billion loan package from the IMF.

While the worst of Sri Lanka’s 2022 Debt Crisis has past, the nation is still hampered by high inflation. The IMF, however, will not release its loan until China and India both agree to lower Sri Lanka’s debt. While Sri Lanka hoped for a deal by the end of 2022, China is concerned that by reducing Sri Lanka’s debt, it sets a bad precedent for other Belt and Road Initiative investment recipients.

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Nonetheless, the pressure mounting from economists, the US, and the IMF, and the CCP’s desire to keep its hard-fought influence in the Indian Ocean will likely be enough to force China’s hand in negotiations. It is likely that China, together with India, will agree to write down its loans to Sri Lanka within the next month, allowing for the IMF to release its loan package.

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