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China Belt and Road Initiative Journal: Research Analysis and Perspectives

ISSN 2515-9402

EISSN 2515-9410

Sri Lanka and The 21st – Century Silk Road

Zhao Jianlin, Zhou Yamin, Xie Laihui

Volume 1, Issue 2, April 2018


Sri Lanka, because of its unique geographical location, is a small but very important country for the Belt and Road Initiative. The authors visited the government department of Sri Lanka, enterprises, think tanks and other institutions, trying to find out the risk and cooperative space of Sri Lanka to participate in the construction of the “21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. The project of Colombo Port City is a typical case, which witnessed the friendly cooperation of two countries, experienced cooperation suspended during government change, and ultimately met the satisfactory move on. The project exhibited the risks of BRI typically, but the restart also means that there exists huge space for cooperation. From a wider view, the construction of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road in South Asia may face the similar space and risks.

The new government of Sri Lanka tries to carry out a balanced diplomatic strategy among major powers like India, China, Japan and western countries, so as to maximize the national interests of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka not only needs economic benefits from China, but also wants to diversify strategic relationship with major powers over the world. Compared with the major powers, Sri Lanka is a tiny country, hence using their diplomatic resources to maximize the “free ride” flexibility is the strategic logic of Sri Lanka. The report reviews the history of China Sri Lanka cooperation, also pays attention to the impact of neighbouring India to Sri Lanka. We then analyse the Colombo port city project as a typical case to show this effort for transition of this South Asian country.

Content :


Sri Lanka and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road

Dynamics of the Sri Lankan Economy and Potential Macroeconomic Risks

Sri Lanka’s Diplomatic Balancing Strategy

The Negotiation of Sino- Sri Lanka FTA

Behind the Interruption of the Colombo Port City Project



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