MONOCLE: With a “strategic co-operation partnership” in place, China has stood by Sri Lanka when its human-rights record has come under question. And when the former president needed help constructing the port and airport he built in his hometown of Hambantota, it was China he turned to. Beijing sees Sri Lanka as crucial to the development of its Maritime Silk Road, with the island’s south coast lying a few miles from the shipping lanes that could connect China with India and oil-producer Iran. Air China’s new Chengdu-Colombo service, which runs four times a week, was no doubt developed to capitalise on the close relationship between the two nations. And having had a consulate in Chengdu since 2009, Sri Lanka is already committed to the Sichuan capital.
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