China–Sri Lanka relations

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China-Sri Lanka relations
Map indicating locations of China and Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka

Relations between China and Sri Lanka are generally warm. There is a Chinese embassy located in Colombo and a Sri Lankan embassy situated in Beijing.

Diplomatic Ties[edit]

Sri Lanka was among the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China. Sri Lanka’s relations with the People’s Republic of China became stronger; since then, the two countries have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements. China has provided Economic, Military and Technical assistance to Sri Lanka.

China cooperation with Sri Lanka has reached high economic points with substantial investment from China in Sri Lankan infrastructural expansion, including the noted project in the Sri Lankan port in Hambantota.China alongside Russia defended Sri Lanka in the UN even using veto power.China and Sri Lanka also share a close military relation, with China supplying a range of modern armaments to the Sri Lanka Armed Forces.


Sri Lanka has an enduring, multi-dimensional and deep-rooted relationship with China. The long-standing ties of friendship between the two countries are underpinned by mutual trust and confidence. A close identity of views and mutuality of interest remain the hallmark of bilateral ties.

The Chinese leadership has always appreciated Sri Lanka’s steadfast support on issues of their concern. China has always supported Sri Lanka on all issues of importance to the latter, The Sri Lankan leadership has always appreciated China’s steadfast support on issues of their concern.

Economic Ties[edit]

China Sri Lanka Investment promotion agreement signed in 2007. Chinese company’s investing in special economic zones in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also a major partner for the Chinese String of Pearls with the Hambanthota port playing a major role in it. China’s most popular Huawei Technologies heavily invested in Sri Lanka & all Sri Lankan Telecom company’s has agreements with Huawei Technologies.

China Sri Lanka Tourism promotion agreement signed in 2007. Chinese tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka increased year to year.

China is the largest trading partner of Sri Lanka within the Asian region and Sri Lanka and China is also planning to sign a Free Trade Agreement in June 2015[1]


Sri Lanka has offered oil exploration block licenses to China, and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is expected to begin oil exploration. China is also constructing two 500 MW thermal power plants.


The Nelum Pokuna(Lotus Pond) Theater
Southern Expressway (E03)

Chinese state owned firms have taken up several major mega-projects in Sri Lanka. China offered technical assistance to modernize Sri Lanka Railways. The work has begun and China will be providing modern railway engines and power sets.

China Sri Lanka Development project. The Hambantota Development Zone, which China is helping to build, will include an International Container port, a bunkering system, an oil refinery, an International airport and other facilities. It is estimated to cost US$1 billion and China is financing more than 85% of the project. Construction for the first phase of the project has begun and is due to complete in three years. The entire project is scheduled to complete in the next 10 years. China and Sri Lanka are also working on a project in Hambantota, 240 kilometers south of the Sri Lanka capital, Colombo, which will transform into a major transshipment hub. Hambantota Infrastructure will help service hundreds of ships that ply the waters to the south of Sri Lanka.

In August 2013, China opened the Colombo International Container Terminal (CTCT), a $500 million port 85% owned by a Chinese merchant company to serve as a hub between Singapore and Dubai[2] China Harbor Engineering Corporation is also constructing the Colombo Port City project planned offshore city to be built on reclaimed land in Colombo, with a total area of 2.33 square kilometres.

Chinese CEIEC and ALIT is constructing the Colombo Lotus Tower which is funded by the EXIM Bank of China. After completion, it will be the tallest building in South Asia.

China also constructed the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Sri Lanka. The Government of the People's Republic of China provided LKR 2430 million out of the total cost of LKR 3080 million for the construction of the theater. It was the site of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013.

Chinese firms are actively participating in development of Sri Lanaka's highways and expressways. The E03 expressway is built by China Metallurgical Group Corporation, MCC. Exim Bank of China funded US$248.2 million of the total cost of US $292 million, leaving the government of Sri Lanka to fund only US$45 million. MCC is also responsible for the 9.2 km third phase of the E02 expressway.

Defense ties[edit]

Chinese built YW534 AFV in Sri Lankan Armed Forces
Chinese WZ551 (Type 92) APC in Sri Lankan use

China has been a steady source of military equipment to Sri Lanka, and is helping to modernize and expand the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. China exports the following to the Sri Lanka military - ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles, rocket launchers and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, deep penetration bombs and rockets, mortar ammunition, night vision devices, artillery, armor, mortars, security equipment, tanks, jets, naval vessels, radars, communication equipment. China also trains Sri Lankan military personnel.[3]

China National Aero Technology Import-Export Corporation is helping the Sri Lanka government to create an Aircraft Maintenance Centre. However, the location has not yet been finalised, but Katunayake, Mattala and Trincomalee are possible locations.[4]

Chinese nuclear submarines have made several friendly visits to Sri Lanka in September and November 2014, despite strong displeasure from India.[5]


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  2. ^ Amal Jayasinghe (August 4, 2013). "Sri Lanka eyes South Asian hub with Chinese mega port". Fox News. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
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Sri lanka China business Council