China has hailed the mutual political trust between China and Sri Lanka saying it helps promote peace, cooperation and development in the whole region.
Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Liu Yunshan, who is on a visit to Sri Lanka said China is happy to see the achievements Sri Lanka has made in ethnic reconciliation, economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihood in recent years. The Xinhua Chinese news agency reported.
He had said this when he met Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne in Colombo where it was agreed to further promote bilateral friendship and cooperation.
To further consolidate the China-Sri Lanka friendship “not only serves the interests of both nations, but also helps promote peace, cooperation and development of the whole region,” said Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
He hailed the “high level of mutual political trust” and thanked the South Asian country for its support on issues involving China’s core interests.
Recalling that the two countries upgraded their relationship to a strategic cooperative partnership in May, he said China stands ready to work with Sri Lanka to grasp this opportunity and further boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Meanwhile, Beijing encourages more Chinese enterprises to invest in Sri Lanka, and will further deepen mutual exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism, media and other areas, he added.
Jayaratne, for his part, said the time-honored Sri Lanka-China friendship has been deeply rooted in the hearts of both peoples and bilateral cooperation has witnessed steady expansion.
The prime minister expressed his gratitude for Chinese assistance for his country’s development, and reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s support for China’s efforts to safeguard its core interests.
Sri Lanka, he added, has strong will and stands fully ready to further boost cooperation with China in a comprehensive manner, and hopes to work together with China to carry on their friendship forever.
Liu and Jayaratne also witnessed the signing of several bilateral cooperation agreements.
Before his talks with Jayaratne, Liu met with Sri Lankan Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and exchanged views with him on bilateral economic cooperation.
China looks forward to the establishment of a China-Sri Lanka free trade zone as soon as possible, Liu told Rajapaksa.
Rajapaksa said his country is confident of an early signing of a free trade deal with China given the positive progress in the negotiations over the past six months.
On the same day, Liu also met with Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the United National Party and a former prime minister of Sri Lanka.
In his meetings with Rajapaksa, who is also an important figure in the ruling Freedom Party, and Wickremasinghe, Liu said party-to-party relations form an important part of bilateral ties.
The CPC, he added, is willing to boost exchanges and cooperation with all major parties in Sri Lanka so as to enhance mutual understanding between the two countries’ young politicians and pass on the bilateral friendship from generation to generation.
Both Rajapaksa and Wickremasinghe said their parties are ready to step up exchanges and cooperation with the CPC and committed to promoting bilateral friendly ties.
Wickremasinghe also expressed his confidence that China will achieve more accomplishments in its development and make more contribution to the peace and development in Asia and the world at large.
Liu arrived in Colombo on Sunday night after wrapping up official visits to Belarus and Ukraine.