Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Shu Jueting told a briefing that "China will continue to support Sri Lanka to the best of its ability amid the country's difficulties so that it can recover its economy as soon as possible and improve the people's living conditions."
The Chinese official referred to the China-Ceylon Rice Rubber Pact, signed in 1952, which reflects both nations' spirit in fighting hegemony and power politics. "We will together maintain a healthy and stable development of relations under our trade agreement," the spokesperson said.
Overall inflation in the country of 22 million inhabitants reached 54.6 percent last month, with the central bank warning that it could rise to 70 percent in the near future. Amid this scenario, the national authorities submitted a moratorium on Sri Lanka's 51 billion dollars foreign debt and are negotiating a loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
China is willing to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to continue to play a positive role for #SriLanka in easing its debt burden and realizing sustainable development, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/eT1i3VvgRo
The government's massive and growing debt, rising oil prices, severe foreign currency shortages, which have curbed imports of essential goods such as fuel, food and medicine, have led to months of protests in the country. As a result of the clashes between security forces and protesters, one person was killed and at least 80 injured.
In April, all 24 Sri Lankan cabinet ministers resigned from their posts amid protests and clashes in the capital, Colombo. Over the last weekend, protesters stormed the presidential palace, forcing Gotabaya Rajapaksa to leave for the Maldives. Later the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had been appointed acting president, was also raided by protesters.
Acting President and current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced a curfew in effect from Thursday at 12:00 local time until Friday at 5:00.
Sri Lanka's Parliament will hold presidential elections on July 20 and appoint an interim government, which will remain in power until the next general elections.