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Coronavirus
LOW
Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,793
924hr
Pakistan Cases
1,287,703
31024hr
Sindh
477,119
Punjab
443,610
Balochistan
33,514
Islamabad
107,989
KPK
180,471

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will tap a state-run Chinese firm to build a deep-sea container port, the government said Wednesday, in a move likely to reignite fears over Beijing’s rising regional maritime power.

The island’s capital Colombo is located in the Indian Ocean between the major hubs of Dubai and Singapore, meaning influence at its ports is highly sought after.

Sri Lanka’s port authority signed a preliminary agreement to build the new Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) in Colombo with India and Japan in 2019.

But President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration scrapped the deal in February, with cabinet agreeing this week to award the project to the state-run China Harbour Engineering Company.

It did not say how much the deal was worth, but official sources had earlier estimated another $500 million to develop the partially built terminal. China has ploughed huge sums into Sri Lankan infrastructure projects over the last decade, becoming one of the country’s biggest foreign financiers.

It has also enjoyed significant political influence on the island under the Rajapaksa clan, who have ruled the country for 11 of the last 16 years.

The ECT is the third port project to come into development around Colombo’s harbour in the past decade.

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