Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka Chargé d’ Affaires Hu Wei invited State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, together with a big team of senior diplomats from Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry for a field visit to the Lotus Tower and the Colombo Port City on 8 September.
After a breath-taking bird-view of grand Colombo area and all the mega projects from the 356-meter high Lotus Tower, which is the highest in South Asia, the delegation headed towards the Colombo Port City, and inspected the first marina of the country, the first artificial golden beach in downtown Colombo as well as the advance multimedia gallery.
In a round table meeting with vivid photos and video-clips, Hu Wei briefed Sri Lankan colleagues about the heart-warming stories of joint fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic and the encouraging developments of joint reviving Sri Lankan economy for the past half year. The Chinese envoy stressed that the pandemic could neither separate the hearts of the two peoples, nor block the development of the social-economic cooperation between the two countries, let alone interfering and sabotaging by external forces.
In 1950s, China and Sri Lanka courageously broke the blockade from the western powers, and signed the historic Rubber-Rice Pact. In 2020s, as the two countries both grow much stronger and our bilateral relations get much stronger, we will carry the spirit of Rubber-Rice Pact forward, and won’t allow any foreign forces to interrupt into our joint cooperation.
The State minister thanked the embassy for the invitation and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC, main operator of Colombo Port City and a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, CCCC) for the kind arrangement, and praised this meaningful field tour for enabling foreign ministry officials to witness and understand the latest developments of mega-projects in Sri Lanka.
Balasuriya highlighted that the Sri Lankan government welcomes investments from China and would ensure that such investments are well protected.
The Colombo Port City is the biggest ever foreign direct investment project in Sri Lankan history, which will attract $ 13 billion further investment, create 83,000 jobs and become the island’s new developing engine. This will no doubt transform the landscape of Colombo and Sri Lanka. We are very optimistic and we want to work in partnership with the Chinese government and Chines companies.
Responding to media query on US unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies, the newly-appointed Regional Cooperation State Minister emphasised, “I don’t think the sanction will affect us. The US government recently banned TikTok and then Huawei. I don’t know whether this is the new world order or a new format of how things are done. But Sri Lanka believes in free trade. A sovereign country should have the right to trade with whoever they want to trade with. We want to ensure that our investors and the local parties are both taken care of and there will be a win-win situation through investments.”