Sri Lanka salutes China

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 01:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • President Rajapaksa commends China’s contribution to SL economic growth as “unprecedented”; Pledges support for China’s Silk Road proposal
  • FTA negotiations start today
  • Bilateral ties elevated to Strategic Cooperative Partnership; Plan of Action signed for greater  cooperation
  • Biggest-ever FDI project $ 1.5 b Port City to be launched by two leaders today
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and President Mahinda Rajapaksa applaud each other during their bilateral meeting at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo yesterday – Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte Sri Lanka yesterday hailed economic superpower China for its unwavering support as the two countries took key steps to further strengthen ties, making them inseparable partners following a new Action Plan agreed upon yesterday. A key breakthrough is the start of bilateral negotiations today on the proposed Free Trade Agreement between the two countries. Earlier yesterday, following the historic visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, over 20 bilateral agreements were signed following high-level discussions. “During the official talks we discussed and exchanged views on our close and strong friendship and the multi-faceted links that bind our two great nations. The elevation of our bilateral ties to that of a Strategic Cooperative Partnership has made a positive contribution to the advancement of our relations. The Plan of Action signed by the two Ministers of External Affairs will make the proposals we have discussed a reality,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. He also hailed China’s contribution to the economic growth of Sri Lanka as unprecedented and added that the economy was growing at 7.8% this year. “The launch of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and China (which will commence today) will provide a more balanced and sustainable development in our bilateral trade and economic cooperation, once finalised,” the President added. The two leaders will launch today the Colombo Port City project – the largest single Foreign Direct Investment of around $ 1.5 billion for the land development that has potential to attract around $ 5 billion from all over the world. The President described it as a project that “is expected to change the skyline of our city”. The duo also launched the final phase of the coal-powered Norochcholai Lakvijaya Power Plant. “People of Sri Lanka join me in expressing deep appreciation to China for the assistance in a number of fields and being a sincere and trusted friend who has supported Sri Lanka at all times,” the President said during his address at the bilateral talks. “The strong and close links between Sri Lanka and China goes back many centuries. Historical chronicles record ancient contacts by land and sea that existed between our two countries. In this context, Sri Lanka is happy to support the proposal by China to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, having been located on the ancient maritime route between the East and West as recognised in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana – Vision for the Future,” the President added. The Government yesterday announced the respective officials level delegation for the bilateral negotiations between Sri Lanka and China in tandem with the State visit by latter’s President Xi Kinping. The primary Sri Lanka delegation consisted of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Petroleum Industries Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Culture and the Arts T.B. Ekanayaka, Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Power and Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of Civil Aviation Piyankara Jayaratne, Minister of Technology and Research Patali Champika Ranawaka, Ministry of External Affairs Monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Chief of Staff to the President Gamini Senarath, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Ministry of Finance and Planning Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary Kshenuka Senewiratne and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Ranjith Uyangoda. The primary China delegation consisted of President Xi Jinping, Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Director General of Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee Wang Huning; Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, Director General of General Office of the CPC Central Committee Li Zhanshu; State Councillor Yang Jiechi; Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Xu Shaoshi, Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng, Chief of Central Finance Leading Group, Deputy Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission Liu He, Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao, Vice Director of General Office of the CPC Central Committee, Chief Staff of President Xi’s Office Ding Xuexiang and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Jianchao. Several other Ministry secretaries, officials and dignitaries were also present at the meeting.

 President Xi brings abundance of Chinese generosity

  • Says Sri Lanka is a close and trusted friend
  • Stresses new Maritime Silk Route proposed by China and ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ vision were cut out for each other
  • Agrees to assist Sri Lanka’s economic development in many spheres to strengthen strategic partnership
  • Jinping hails President Rajapaksa for considerable economic development under his leadership’
  The first visit to Sri Lanka by President Xi Jinping of China saw an abundance of Chinese generosity in assistance offered to Sri Lanka in many areas of development, marking a new phase of strengthened friendship between the two countries. The areas of assistance covered the deepening of the strategic cooperative partnership, negotiation for the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement, wide ranging technical cooperation between the two countries and maritime cooperation emphasising on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route where Sri Lanka would be a hub of development. The Chinese President said that the new Maritime Silk Route proposed by China and the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ vision were cut out for each other and would be most conducive for development of Sri Lanka, especially in port construction and development, expansion of the maritime economy and ensuring maritime security. There was also an agreement on China-Sri Lanka Coastal and Marine Joint Research and Development. The two Leaders discussed many areas of possible close cooperation, including support for Chinese naval vessels in Sri Lanka, carrying out joint naval exercises for common areas of maritime safety, expanding military assistance to Sri Lanka including training of military personnel, providing of a coastal patrol vessel and cooperation on JF17 jets. Matters covered included widening of civil aviation facilities between the two countries and strong Chinese support to encourage arrival of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka. President Xi said there are 100 million out tourists from China each year. They are spread in South East Asia and very soon they will be coming to South Asia and it will be a great opportunity for Sri Lanka with good promotion of its many attractions. After commissioning Phase 3 of the Lakvijaya Power Plant at Norochcholai with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Xi said this would change the power supply landscape of Sri Lanka, enabling the country to supply quality power at a reasonable rate to all parts of the country. Thanking the Chinese President for the assistance provided to Sri Lanka to increase the energy capacity, President Rajapaksa announced that with the full commissioning of Norochcholai, the power capacity would increase by 900 megawatts, raising the total to 3,900 megawatts and said the Government would reduce the electricity tariff by 25% with immediate effect. Taking into consideration the satisfactory energy capacity, President Rajapaksa also announced the reduction of the prices of kerosene, petrol and diesel by Rs. 20, Rs. 5 and Rs. 3 per litre respectively. Visiting Chinese President Xi Jingping agreed to assist Sri Lanka’s economic development in many spheres, stating that Sri Lanka was a close and trusted friend and adding that he wanted to “strengthen friendly bonds and cooperation to enable our strategic partnership for betterment of our people”. Chinese President Xi also expressed his appreciation to President Rajapaksa for “the considerable economic development achieved during the last ten years under his leadership”. He said China was ready to train astronauts from Sri Lanka in this new area of progress for youth.

 Chinese President checks in to Cinnamon Grand

China’s President Xi Jinping who arrived in Sri Lanka was welcomed to his temporary abode at the Cinnamon Grand by John Keells Holdings Sector Head – City Hotels Rohan Karr and his team.