Describing China as a “major stakeholder” in Sri Lanka’s development, Colombo has said Beijing had offered financial support and had stood by the country in “crucial situations“.
“China has extended its support to us... despite some international pressures on Sri Lanka in recent times,” senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa said, while addressing a ceremony to mark the completion of the first phase of a power plant build with Chinese assistance in North-western province.
Mr. Rajapaksa said China is a major stakeholder in the country’s development.
“China came forward to help Sri Lanka in crucial situations,” he said, thanking Beijing for its financial support for the $455 million project.
The 900 MW coal-fired power plant, work on which was inaugurated in May 2006, is being built with Chinese financial assistance in Norochcholai and its first phase is expected to become operational next year.
The total estimated cost of the project is put at $455 million out of which EXIM Bank of China is providing a soft loan of $300 million.
Basil Rajapaksa said that the Chinese government had also granted financial support to Sri Lanka to develop roads, railways, harbours and other facilities.
The first phase of the plant would meet 25 per cent of the country’s power requirement, Mr. Rajapaksa said on Thursday.
A statue of Lord Buddha to be brought from China will be installed at the plant, a report further said.
The ceremony was attended by a group of Chinese monks from the Shaolin Temple including its Chief incumbent Ven Shi Yongxin.
Minister of Power and Energy W D J Seneviratne said plans are underway to begin the construction of the second coal-fired power plant with a generation capacity of 1,000 MW in Trincomalee with the assistance of the Indian government this year.
China is also assisting in construction of the multi-million dollar Hambantota new Port Complex in South-eastern coast of Sri Lanka, the Performing Arts Centre in Colombo, among other areas.