Sri Lanka's President has asked China to restructure repayments of his country's debt amounting to billions of dollars.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa made the request during a meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday.
The Sri Lankan government quoted Wang as saying that China will always support Sri Lanka as a close friend.
Rajapaksa reportedly expressed gratitude for China's provision of coronavirus vaccines and financial support.
The Sri Lankan president asked Beijing to consider restructuring debt repayments, including deadline extensions, to help his country weather its financial crisis that has arisen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sri Lanka is a part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, and Chinese loans to the South Asian country now total at least 3.38 billon dollars.
The southern port of Hambantota has been on a 99-year lease to China on the grounds that Sri Lanka fell behind in its debt repayments.
Beijing's rising influence, on the back of ballooning loans, have been described by critics as a "debt trap."
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