Chinese leader inaugurates $1.4 billion Sri Lankan port project ahead of India visit

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Sri Lanka inaugurating a $1.4 billion port city being built on an artificial island near the island nation's capital.

The Colombo Port City, funded largely by Chinese loans, is designed to become a key link in a maritime route China hopes will boost trade with Europe.

Xi and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa cut a ribbon to officially launch the project during a ceremony Wednesday.

Aside from offering a base to international shippers, the port city is expected to ease traffic and congestion in Colombo's busy business district.

Xi was traveling later Wednesday to India, where he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to discuss trade, infrastructure and territorial disputes.