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Sri Lanka Selects Chinese Firm to Develop New Container Port

Sri Lanka has selected a Chinese firm to construct the second phase of the Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal (ECT), a move which is likely to alarm other Asian powers given Beijing’s maritime silk road ambitions. In a Cabinet decision on Tuesday, Beijing-headquarted China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) was approved by Colombo to develop the strategic port terminal. The country’s port authority in 2019 signed a preliminary agreement with India’s Adani Group and Japan to build the ECT, but that deal was scrapped in February by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration. Over the past decade, China has poured money into the South Asian island, largely under Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also called “One Belt, One Road”) infrastructure plan, which was announced in 2013. The BRI initially consisted of two major components—the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—and in recent years, others …

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