China has send off a special envoy to Sri Lanka, where major Chinese investments are being reviewed since a Beijing-friendly president was ousted from power in January and a recent parliamentary election reinstated a national unity government seeking a more neutral foreign policy.
The South China Morning Post has learnt that Beijing has appointed Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin as the first special envoy for the strategically located Indian Ocean nation since the parliamentary elections in August.
Mr. Liu Zhenmin‘s visit comes on the heels of back-to-back trips by the newly elected prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, to India and Japan.
China pumped billions of dollars into infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka during the corruption-tainted presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The new government alleges these projects were contracted out on unequal terms favouring Chinese companies. Nearly 70 per cent of the infrastructure projects in the country in the past six years have been funded by China and built by Chinese companies.
The most controversial is Colombo Port City, a real estate reclamation project the size of Monaco. The US$1.4 billion project, which would have been the biggest foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka, was shelved after Rajapaksa lost power.