Sri Lanka’s China ‘debt trap’ fears grow as Beijing keeps investing

HONG KONG — Surging investment from China, including a multibillion dollar oil project late last year, is leaving a giant question mark over Sri Lanka even as it tries to restructure towering debt and recover from its worst economic crisis as an independent nation: Just how much leverage does Beijing have over the island country?

China is the largest bilateral creditor to Sri Lanka, which in May 2022 became the first Asian lower-middle income country to default on its sovereign debt in two decades. Chinese loans had financed a string of large infrastructure projects, including highways, an airport and a port in the country.

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