Arab Today, arab today sri lanka opens second china funded highway
Last Updated : GMT 11:24:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Sri Lanka opens second China funded highway

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Sri Lanka opens second China funded highway

Colombo - XINHUA

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the country\'s second highway funded by China on Sunday. Rajapaksa spoke highly of the development made in post-war Sri Lanka, mostly through Chinese funding. \"We have built highways, power plants and new ports. The country is flourishing after the end of the war and we now have a chance to promote international engagement through hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,\" he noted. \"There has been criticism directed at us. Every six months we have to go before the international community and defend ourselves against allegations of war crimes and much else. No one stops to ask how many lives have been saved since the war ended and how development has flourished since the end of the conflict,\" he said firing a salvo at his detractors. However, he insisted that the government would not be deterred in its march towards development, which is enthusiastically supported by China. He praised China for supporting a project that was needed for more than four decades and finally became reality much to the happiness of the people. The new expressway will reduce travel time between the country\' s international airport and the capital city to just 20 minutes. Since Sri Lanka ended a 30-year civil war in 2009 China emerged as the island nation\'s largest loan provider with 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in loans in 2009 and 821 million U.S. dollars in 2010. In 2011 the amount fell to 784.7 million U.S. dollars but China remained involved in almost all the large-scale projects taking place, according to the Finance Ministry. Some of the biggest projects include a 1.3 billion U.S. dollar coal power plant on the northwestern shore as well as a host of other investments in the south of the country that are estimated to exceed 4 billion U.S. dollars, including a 1.2 billion dollar harbor. China was also one of the funders for the Southern expressway, which was Sri Lanka\'s first highway declared open in 2011.

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