China to boost military ties with Sri Lanka and gift frigate

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China is to boost the military ties with Sri Lanka and gift a frigate to the Sri Lankan Navy, a Chinese official said today.

Senior Colonel Xu Jianwei of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said that this year China will continue to provide various training courses for the Sri Lankan tri-forces, to complete building a Chinese-funded auditorium complex at the Sri Lanka Military Academy, and make preparations to hand over a gift frigate to the Sri Lanka Navy.

He said that China is willing to enhance mutual strategic trust and is keen to see both countries continue supporting each other on issues for core interest.

“China wishes to boost the development of Belt and Road initiative to strengthen the pragmatic cooperation between two countries and two militaries,” he added.

Senior Colonel Xu Jianwei was speaking at a reception held at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo today to mark the 91st Anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

“As a good and true friend, over the past decades, China has provided powerful support to the social-economic development and military and defense construction of Sri Lanka. The friendship between China has withstood the test of time and grew even stronger. Chinese military attaches great importance to improving relations with Sri Lanka military.
In the past few years, two militaries have witnessed the deepening communication and cooperation in the areas of personnel training, joint training, maritime security etc,” he said.

Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Kapila Waidyaratne, who was the chief guest at the event, said that China’s military assistance to Sri Lanka indicates the success of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

However he noted that Sri Lanka is yet to reap the full benefits of China’s concurrences in Sri Lanka.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, opposition leader R. Sampanthan and other Ministers, the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan and other officials were also present at the event. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Easwaran Rutnam / Pictures by Zarani

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