These days, China is continually pushing Sri Lanka to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean. Dragon has given a huge debt to this neighboring country of India, which Colombo will not be able to repay even in the next 100 years. This is the reason why Sri Lanka had to lease its port of Hambantota to the Chinese company on a 99-year lease. Now China has invited a major disaster by placing a ship full of radioactive material without asking Sri Lanka in this port. If there is a slight leak from this ship, Sri Lanka will have to pay a heavy price.
Chinese ship entered Sri Lankan port due to radioactive material
According to The Hindu report, the Chinese company operating the Hambantota port has been authorized to stop a ship bound for China loaded with radioactive material. When the Sri Lankan authorities learned of this, their senses flew. He immediately ordered the Chinese freighter to leave the port. The Sri Lankan authorities say that this shipping company did not seek permission to stop the vessel with dangerous cargo, according to the law of our country.
Sri Lankan government permission is not required
The case was also confirmed by Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Captain Indica de Silva. The freighter flying the Antigua and Barbuda flag had requested permission to stop from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, citing a mechanical emergency. However, the company operating the vessel did not say that the radioactive material was loaded onto the vessel. Under Sri Lankan Atomic Energy Law, any such vessel must be approved by the government.
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Uranium hexafluoride is a hazardous material
Sri Lankan Atomic Energy Regulatory Council Director General HL Anil Ranjith said the ship was loaded with uranium hexafluoride, which is classified as dangerous cargo. Uranium hexachloride is the atomic material usually transported from one country to another. But according to Sri Lankan law, permission must first be obtained to stop such vessels in one of our ports. This vessel did not seek such government approval.
Opposition accused of working under Chinese pressure
Meanwhile, the opposition attacked the Sri Lankan government and accused China of being under pressure. Sajith Premadasa, feudal leader Jan Balavageya, raised the issue in parliament on Wednesday. He said our naval officers were not allowed to board this ship bound for China for inspection. He said without naming China that the government appears to be under pressure from a diplomatic mission.
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Chinese foreign minister to visit Sri Lanka next week
Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe will arrive in Sri Lanka next week for his three-day visit and meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. General Wei will arrive in Colombo on April 27 and will be the second senior Chinese official to visit the country after the start of the Kovid-19 epidemic. In October, Yang Jiechi, vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, visited the island country.
Sri Lanka to take new loan of 16 thousand crore Chinese rupees
Sri Lanka has again requested a new loan of $ 2.2 billion (Rs.161912080000) from China to save the country’s deteriorating economy. Sri Lankan Money and Capital Markets Minister Nivard Kabral said that within the next two weeks the Sri Lankan government will also finalize a $ 1.5 billion money swap deal with the Central Bank of China. Sri Lanka already has billions of dollars in debt with Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka’s total debt of $ 55 billion
Sri Lanka has a total debt of $ 55 billion with countries around the world. According to the report, this amount represents 80% of Sri Lanka’s total GDP. Of these, China and the Asian Development Bank have the highest debt. While it is followed by Japan and the World Bank. India provided a loan of 2% of Sri Lanka’s GDP.
Sri Lanka is the center of China’s expansion in the Indian Ocean
China has also included Sri Lanka in China’s Indo-Pacific Belt and Road Expansion Initiative (BRI). Sri Lanka leased the Port of Hambantota to the Merchant Port Holdings Limited Company of China for 99 years in 2017 for $ 1.12 billion due to the non-payment of Chinese debt. However, Sri Lanka now wants to reclaim this port.
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Proximity to China increased during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure
During Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure, there was a lot of closeness between Sri Lanka and China. Sri Lanka has contracted a lot of debt with China in the name of development. However, when it was his turn to repay, Sri Lanka had nothing left. After that, the Port of Hambantota and 15,000 acres of land had to be ceded to China for an industrial zone. It is now feared that China is also using it as a naval base to continue its activities in the Indian Ocean.