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China unlikely  to ask for naval base at H’tota

Sri Lanka has ‘very close’ and ‘very special’ ties with China but there is unlikely to be a defence relationship between Beijing and Colombo, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollogama has said.

Asked how he viewed the China engagement, Bogollogama told Singapore’s Straits Times Saturday: ‘It is very close and I call it very special because they have supported our economic agenda and us politically in the Security Council.’

He added: the China-Sri Lanka relationship is very special and a growing one.

The minister was asked if there would ever be a Chinese naval base in the port of Hambantota that China was building in southern Sri Lanka.

‘They have not asked,’ Bogollogama said.

‘There are no such indications that have come our way.

Why should we go by fiction and hypothesis on matters of importance? If they wanted to ask, they would have by now.’

Could there be a defence relationship with China?

The minister replied: ‘Not really. Because I see India is our immediate neighbor and our close friend. That also is a unique relationship.

India has been very supportive of our efforts for seeking sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.

We are quite pleased with the current defence make up of Sri Lanka.’

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