Sri Lanka's Minister of Port and Shipping, Mahinda Samarasinghe on Saturday presented the Hambantota Port agreement to senior Buddhist clergy, assuring them the government was not handing over parts of the island to China.
The port is being leased for 99 years, the minister told the prelates.
"Under the agreement the Sri Lanka Port Authority does not have to pay the debt to the Chinese from now and the government can save Rs. 9 billion a year, which can be used to grant benefits for the port employees and to develop the other ports in the country," the minister was quoted by Colombo Page as saying.
The agreement was subject to opposition and protests with Sinhala locals and Buddhist monks accusing the government of selling land to China.