Party’s over

Faced with an overseas debt crisis, will China change its ways?

It looks like it may have no choice.

Currently, the future of Sri Lanka (above) hangs in the balance. PHOTO: RUSSELL BLINCH
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Few moments better encapsulate the hope and hubris of China's Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure binge, than the inauguration of Sri Lanka's Colombo Port City in 2014. China's President Xi Jinping attended in person, nodding approvingly as a project manager introduced the US$15 billion (S$20.92 billion) plan to build a high-tech offshore financial centre with a marina, hotels and luxury homes on 269 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea off Sri Lanka's capital. Local officials likened the project to Dubai and Singapore.

Mr Xi called it a "major hub" of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road - the part of Belt and Road that aimed to reshape ocean trade by financing ports and related infrastructure without the pesky conditions that Western and multilateral lenders demand.

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