Colombo, January 14 (Xinhua): Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday separately met the visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Both sides pledged to further promote relations between the two countries.
Sri Lanka has attached utmost importance to developing ties with China as it is a trustworthy and long-term cooperative partner of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan president said, expressing gratitude to China for its support for Sri Lanka’s socio-economic development.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka is ready to enhance Sri Lanka-China ties, strengthen bilateral “win-win” cooperation in various fields and actively promote the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to build regional shipping and logistic hubs.
Meeting with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa
During Wang’ meeting with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the latter said that the Sri Lankan government fully supports the development of major projects such as the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port.
He noted that these projects will not only help develop the country’s economy and improve people’s livelihood, but also become a major driving force for friendly cooperation between the two countries.
The Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka welcomes more Chinese tourists as well as more Chinese investments.
He also called for closer coordination and cooperation between the two countries in international affairs.
For his part, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China and Sri Lanka are good friends and partners who always support and help each other.
“China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in safeguarding its sovereignty and national dignity,” Wang said.
“China is willing to further consolidate mutual political trust, strengthen high-level exchanges and deepen practical cooperation between the two countries, so as to push for further promotion of their strategic cooperative partnership,” the Chinese Minister added.
The senior Chinese official called for discussions on jointly forging a China-Sri Lanka community with a shared future which features sharing opportunities and outcomes and enjoying common development and prosperity.
“China and Sri Lanka should speed up the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, develop the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port into two major engines for the fast development of the Sri Lankan economy,” Wang said.
Wang also called upon the two sides to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the fields of agriculture, technology, education and tourism.
He said China will encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Sri Lanka and help the country build shipping and logistic hubs as well as industrial and financial centers in the region.
“China-Sri Lanka cooperation has never targeted any third party and also it should not be affected by any third party,” Wang said, stressing that deepening cooperation between China and Sri Lanka will surely be conducive for peace and development of the region.
China and Sri Lanka agreed here Tuesday to boost communication and coordination in regional and international affairs.
Meeting with Foreign Minister Gunawardena
In his interaction with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister said China’s foreign policy toward Sri Lanka has been steady and consistent, and China regards the island country as a trustworthy friend and a partner of mutually beneficial cooperation.
“China will firmly support Sri Lanka in safeguarding its national sovereignty and dignity and support the Sri Lankan new government in achieving its priority targets in governance”, Wang said.
Noting that the China-Sri Lanka ties are facing important opportunities for development, Wang said the Chinese side is willing to join hands with the Sri Lankan new government to work out a good plan and make good preparations for the high-level exchanges between the two countries, jointly push forward the building of the Belt and Road, step up pragmatic cooperation in all fields and continuously advance the ongoing important cooperation projects for positive progress.
“The two sides should also boost communication and coordination in regional and international affairs as well as in maintaining the interests of the developing countries and the international justice”, Wang added.
For his part, the Sri Lankan foreign minister said his country regards China as its close friend and important development partner.
“Sri Lanka is grateful that China has always supported the island country in safeguarding its national sovereignty and dignity as well as in fighting terrorism and extremism”, Gunawardena said.
“Sri Lanka is also grateful that China has, in the long-run, provided selfless help and firm support for the island country in socio-economic development and the improvement of the wellbeing of the Sri Lankan people,” the Lankan foreign minister said.
Gunawardena said his country attaches great importance to developing ties with China, and is willing to work with China to boost mutual political trust, speed up the building of the Belt and Road and implement the important projects such as Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port, deepen the people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, and press forward the development of bilateral ties for greater progress.
Sri Lanka thinks highly of China’s role in world stability and development, and hopes to strengthen communication and coordination with China in international affairs, the foreign minister added.