Chinese Defence Minister starts B’desh, Sri Lanka visits

Chinese minister is likely to meet Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid and the Bangladesh Army chief during his visit…reports Asian Lite News

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe will arrive in Dhaka on a brief visit on Tuesday amid the ongoing talks between the two countries over COVID-19 vaccine cooperation.

During his brief visit, the Chinese minister is likely to meet Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid and the Bangladesh Army chief.

In December last year, the last-minute postponement of the Chinese Defence Minister’s visit to Bangladesh had raised curiosity about the state of the relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Fenghe will later on Tuesday leave for Sri Lanka on a three-day visit, the second high-level visit by a senior Chinese official in recent months.

Wei Fenghe(wikipedia)

General Fenghe will be visiting the island from April 27 to 29, Colombo Page reported.

The Minister is slated to hold bilateral talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and other government officials.

This is the second-highest visit by a Chinese official to the island nation following the visit of Yang Jiechi, Vice Chairman, Chinese Communist Party, in October last year.

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There have been concerns about Beijing seeking to increase its footprint in the country through contentious infrastructure projects.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court is currently hearing several petitions against a Bill that will give special powers to govern the China-backed port city in Colombo.

Meanwhile, amid the controversy surrounding the China-backed Port City in Colombo, Sri Lanka Minister of Justice Ali Sabry has said the government owns 100 per cent of the land and the project has been initiated to bring investment in the special financial zone.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Addressing a media briefing, Minister Sabry said the total area of the investment zone is 269 hectares and 91 hectares for public facilities and cannot be given to the project company, The Colombo Page reported. Out of the remaining land of the financial zone, 116 hectares or 43 per cent will be given to the project company which initiated the project in 2013 and spent USD 1.4 billion to develop the Port City.

“But all 100 per cent of the land is owned by the government. It is completely false to say that land was given to someone else,” Sabry said.

This comes as the opposition has alleged that a bill to set up a Commission to govern a Colombo Port City has given it too much discretion, denied equal opportunity to Sri Lankans who did not have black money stashed abroad.

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