Colombo, April 8 (newsin.asia): Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the fourth most important leader in China, said here on Friday that the reception that he got in Sri Lanka was “far beyond expectations.”
Speaking at a reception given by the Speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, at whose invitation he had come to Sri Lanka, Yu said that he had received “warm hospitality” and noted that relations between China and Sri Lanka had come to a “new level” basically because China and Sri Lanka “trust each other”.
Yu recalled that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s dream is to build a “world community based on a shared future” and that his global projects are meant to bring people together.
Yu congratulated parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s granddaughter for welcoming him in “excellent Chinese” and said that even US President Donald Trump’s granddaughter is learning Chinese. He extolled the learning of other peoples’ languages for the role this plays in bringing diverse peoples together.
China’s Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang noted that Yu’s visit coincides with a landmark event – the 60 th. anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two counrties. Sino-Sri Lankan relations have “stood the test of time” and the “future is filled with expectations,” Yi said.
Jayasuriya said that Yu’s visit will “open new vistas” in Sino-Sri Lankan relations. He reminded the Chinese leader that 2017 marks the 65 th. anniversary of the Rubber-Rice barter pact between China and Sri Lanka by which, Sri Lanka got Chinese rice and China got Sri Lankan rubber at a time when these countries were in dire need of these products.
While Sri Lanka was facing a rice shortage, the US-dominated world at that time was trying to stop export of rubber to Communist China as rubber was classified as a “strategic material”. But tiny Sri Lanka defied the US and entered into the landmark rice for rubber barter deal with China.
Jayasuriya said that he was personally involved in the rubber trade as a private sector executive between 1965 and 1982. At that time Sri Lanka had supplied China 35% of its rubber needs and he had supplied one million rubber tree seeds to the Hainan province in China.
The Speaker described China as Sri Lanka’s “all weather friend” and thanked it for the help it rendered in safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka. The on-going Chinese built and funded infrastructure projects in the island nation stand as “monuments” for the friendship, he added.
Jayasuriya said that Sri Lanka has had an abiding interest in being part of China’s Maritime Silk Road from its beginnings in 1405, when the Chinese Admiral, Zheng He, landed in Galle with a fleet of 300 ships and 25,000 soldiers to establish trade links. Today, Sri Lanka is a supporter of China’s One Belt One Road project and the 21 st.Century Maritime Silk Road project, Jayasuriya noted.
The Sri Lankan Speaker pointed out that the Chinese built Colombo Financial City would help Sri Lanka realize its goal of becoming a Financial Hub. He was confident that the talks on China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement will be concluded successfully to “pave the way for economic cooperation”.
During his two-day visit which ended on Saturday, Yu Zhengsheng had cordial discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on-going China-funded projects including the Hambantota port.
Yu visited the China-built Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) ,which is already in operation, and also the Colombo Port City which is being constructed by the China Harbor Engineering Company. He was briefed about the non-going work in these projects and the status of the Hambantota port also.
Yu participated in a ceremony at the Colombo National Hospital in which Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena laid the foundation stone of an Out Patients Department which is being built by China.
(The featured picture at the top is that of Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth most important leader in China)