Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera shakes hands with Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during their meeting in Colombo August 21, 2018 - REUTERS
Prime Minist-er Ranil Wickre-mesinghe on Tuesday emphasised the significance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on strengthening defence cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan with the visiting Defence Minister of Japan.
During a meeting between the visiting Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held at Temple Trees on Tuesday Wickremesinghe pointed out that Sri Lanka has always been committed to free maritime movement in the Indian Ocean.
The Premier pointed out that, as the Bay of Bengal countries develop rapidly in the next 20 years, Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Port in the East would become the central port in the region. He stressed that Sri Lanka expects Japan’s assistance to develop the Port.
The Japanese Defence Minister said he hopes to visit Trincomalee to observe and get an understanding of the Port and the area.
Minister Onodera, who appreciated Sri Lanka’s support for the development that Japan has achieved in the past, gratefully acknowledged former President J. R. Jayewardene’s speech at the San Francisco Conference in 1951 on the Japanese Peace Treaty.
The Prime Minister and the Japanese Minister also discussed maritime security cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan, and regional peace.
The Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Kenichi Suganuma, Director General of the Japanese Defence Policy Bureau Akihiro Tsuchimichi, Vice Chief of Staff of Joint Staff Lieutenant General Takashi Motomatsu, and State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene joined this event.