SL not renegotiating H’tota port deal with China: Envoy

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China has dismissed suggestions that Sri Lanka is planning to extend the 99-year lease it granted to China to run Hambantota port, South China Morning Post reported today.

In an interview, Dr. Palitha Kohona has said that the country would “never be an unsinkable aircraft carrier posing a threat to anyone else”, referring to China’s ongoing power struggles with the United States and India.

Hambantota’s location at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, overlooking South Asia’s vital sea lanes, makes it a potential key maritime hub in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka agreed to hand over the running of the port in 2017 when it was unable to make the repayments on the Chinese loans used to develop it.