Colombo: China and Sri Lanka's relationship has become more strained as Jaffna University recently refused to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China's State Agricultural University, saying that the deal has hidden the agenda of Beijing to grab fertile lands.

Earlier, on November 25, Jaffna University Vice Chancellor Sivakolundu Srisatkunarajah refused to sign the MoU with China and said that the deal has the hidden agenda of China to grab fertile lands under the pretext of development projects in the North and East, Ceylon Today reported .

Meanwhile, the students' Union appealed to the Government not to sign MoUs with China against the will of the people.

In an official statement, on November 28, Sri Lanka's Student Union of Jaffna University expressed shock that a "secret arrangement was made to sign an MoU strongly supported by the Government of Sri Lanka."

The Students' Union expressed gratitude to their Vice Chancellor for refusing to sign the MoU, according to Ceylon Today.

The statement further noted that China, directly and indirectly, grabbed large chunks of sea areas under the pretext of promoting sea cucumber farms and created divisions among their fishermen.

"Now, China is eyeing to grab the fertile agricultural lands in the North and East with a malicious calculation to manage a severe food crisis which seems imminent in China in ten years. China allegedly supplied faecal matter with harmful bacteria as fertiliser to Sri Lanka and compelled Sri Lanka to pay millions of rupees. This is a classic example of how China will grab our fertile agricultural lands and enslave us to manage the upcoming food crisis in China," the statement added.

The statement further pointed out that Sri Lanka became the victim of the present situation because of non-transparent and unsustainable Chinese loans. Even in present negotiations for the resettlement of loans, though Japan and India have supported Sri Lanka's IMF plans, China has been persistent in its proposal for refinancing rather than restructuring with hidden agendas resulting in disaster, later on, has been clearly visible in Sri Lanka's recent history with China, reported Ceylon Today.

Based on the approach of China, Student union suspected that the Sri Lankan Government has already made secret deals with Beijing to sell the fertile agricultural lands and the seas in the North and East to China.