China and Sri Lanka should focus on strengthening cooperation over key investment projects, Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday told his visiting counterpart from Sri Lanka, amid strong local opposition to some major Chinese-invested schemes.
Meeting in Beijing, Wang told Tilak Marapana that the two countries should take this year’s 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties as an opportunity, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement, according to the Reuters news agency.
Both should “emphasise strengthening traditional friendship and political mutual trust, major infrastructure projects, investment and trade” to “upgrade” their relationship, Wang added.
The short statement did not mention any specific projects.
As one of the first countries to help in Sri Lanka’s post-war reconstruction after the 2009 end of its 26-year civil war, China’s ties with Sri Lanka have unnerved India, traditionally the island nation’s most important partner.
By 2014, Chinese navy submarines were also docking in Colombo, raising alarm in New Delhi and prompting a push by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to claw back influence in the region. (Colombo Gazette)