They have also reiterated the need to continue to cooperate and work together on defence and security related issues.
The joint statement was released today at the conclusion of the visit to China by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
At the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe paid an official visit to China from 6th to 9th April, 2016.
During the visit, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called on Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also held talks with Li Keqiang, Premier of State Council of the People’s Republic of China and met with Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
The leaders of the two countries had an in-depth exchange of views in a warm and friendly atmosphere and reached broad consensus on China-Sri Lanka relations as well as on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The two sides shared the view that China and Sri Lanka relations have withstood the test of time and the two sides will work for an all-weather friendship. The Strategic Cooperative Partnership based on sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship between China and Sri Lanka serves the fundamental interests of both countries and contributes to the development of the two countries and the well-being of their peoples. The two sides will remain committed to their friendship to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation and to extend mutual support in various regional and international fora.
The two sides reaffirmed their mutual support on issues of common interest and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, stability and development of their countries. The two sides reiterated their adherence to the Five Principle of Peaceful Co-existence and to abide by the basic norms of international law of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries.
The joint statement said that China supports Sri Lanka’s efforts in maintaining national unity, peace and reconciliation and in promoting economic development. Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to the One China Policy and support to the efforts by the Chinese Government to safeguard its national unity. The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. Sri Lanka calls for the settlement of disputes and differences through constructive dialogue, consultation and cooperation by the parties concerned in accordance with international laws and practices. Sri Lanka also appreciates China’s efforts and readiness to promote such dialogue in order to maintain peace and security in the region.
Both sides agreed that the state visit paid by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Sri Lanka in September, 2014, and the state visit paid by the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to China in March, 2015, were historic landmarks. Both governments will pursue joint efforts to realize the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries and to enhance substantive cooperation in all areas, upgrading China-Sri Lanka relations to a new level of excellence.
The two sides agreed to further the bilateral relationship through enhanced high-level exchanges, regular contacts at all levels, through bilateral visits and meetings at multilateral fora.
Sri Lanka reiterated its active participation in the Belt and Road initiative put forward by China, as Sri Lanka was in ancient times, the center of the Indian Ocean trade and, intends to re-establish this status once more. The two sides agreed to promote mutually beneficial cooperation for development. Sri Lanka shared the interest of China in building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road for greater economic cooperation, which will be a road of friendship, economic cooperation, socio and cultural exchange and connectivity. The two sides will use the development of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road as an opportunity to further advance infrastructure development, the China-Sri Lanka FTA negotiations, promote joint ventures and expand cooperation in the areas of economy, culture, science and technology and people to people contacts to ensure that development brings benefits and more deliverables to the people and to build a community that have a shared destiny.
Sri Lanka welcomed the positive engagement of Chinese enterprises in the country’s economic development. Sri Lanka also welcomes further investment from Chinese enterprises and will continue its cooperation with Chinese companies by creating a favourable investment climate and business environment for Chinese enterprises. China will continue to encourage competitive Chinese companies to invest in Sri Lanka, to cooperate with a view to achieving mutual benefits. The Chinese side will encourage its financial institutions to provide financial support to the construction of infrastructure in Sri Lanka.
Both sides agreed to enhance their cooperation in the fields of transport, power and other infrastructure, industrial parks, and manufacturing industry etc. Sri Lanka announced the resumption of work of the Colombo Port City Project and expressed the willingness to facilitate and support the implementation of this project and to cooperate with Chinese companies to promote major projects as provided for in the MOU between Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade of Sri Lanka signed on April 07th , 2016.
Both sides also reviewed and noted with satisfaction the achievements in bilateral economic and trade cooperation and agreed to hold the 7th Meeting of the China-Sri Lanka Joint Trade Committee at an early date within this year. The joint Trade Committee will study and formulate the development plan on bilateral economic and trade cooperation for next five to ten years. Both sides agreed to hold the third round of the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade negotiations as early as possible and work towards concluding the negotiations at an early date with a view to enhancing the bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The two sides agreed to build on the previous work on a China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement by negotiating a trade agreement which would include economic cooperation, trade in goods and services and investment.
The Chinese side pledged to continue its assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development, improvement of people’s livelihood, and on projects particularly in areas of public health services, agriculture and water conservancy. The Chinese side is also willing to offer training and research opportunities for administrative and technical personnel from Sri Lanka especially in the fields of fishery, hybrid rice and tea industry. The two sides will work closely to fully implement the MOU on cooperation in fisheries, inland fisheries and aquaculture. Sri Lanka appreciated the assistance provided by the Chinese side in the country’s economic development.
Both sides agreed to convene the second meeting of the Joint Committee on Coastal and Marine Cooperation and convene the first Workshop on Marine and Coastal Cooperation at an early date and to promote the cooperation in the fields of ocean observation, marine meteorology, ecosystem protection, maritime resource management, underwater joint archaeology, search and rescue, combating piracy, navigation security and maritime personnel training, etc. The two sides agreed to carry out exchanges between the relevant departments of the two countries in the area of supervision and anti-corruption, promoting mutual understanding and cooperation in this regard.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of technology and agriculture. China will provide opportunities for Sri Lanka young scientists in Sri Lanka to visit China on short-term assignments, and explore the establishment of a joint Agricultural Technology Demonstration Park and a joint Biological Technology Lab, so as to enhance the capacity building in Sri Lanka. The two sides agreed to commence the project on Joint Research and Development Center on safe water supply technology as soon as possible. China is willing to assist Sri Lanka identifying factors causing chronic kidney disease.
The two sides noted with pleasure that the bilateral cooperation on tourism has achieved a remarkable progress with China becoming the second largest source of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka. China invited Sri Lanka to participate at the First Meeting of the World Tourism Development in China, and will continue to encourage its nationals to travel to Sri Lanka and provide assistance for Sri Lanka in its efforts to increase its share in the tourism market. The two sides encourage the airline companies of both countries to have more frequent direct flights.
Both sides agreed to strengthen people to people exchanges and cultural cooperation, given the strong historical links between the peoples of China and Sri Lanka. In this regard, they supported an exhibition to be co-hosted in Colombo by the cultural authorities of the two countries on the theme of China-Sri Lanka Maritime Silk Route.
The two sides will play an active role in promoting activities of the Chinese Culture Center and Confucius Institute to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between their peoples. China is willing to offer more scholarships to Sri Lanka and provide Sri Lanka 2000 training opportunities in the next 5 years in order to strengthen cooperation with Sri Lanka in the field of vocational education. The two sides encouraged the expansion of exchanges and cooperation between the universities, vocational training colleges, think tanks, and the media etc. Sri Lanka thanked China for the invitation for 100 Sri Lankan young people to visit China.
The two sides agreed to further enhance coordination and cooperation at the United Nations, the ASEAN Regional Forum and in other regional and multilateral fora. The two sides also discussed further cooperation in the areas of UN reform, human rights, climate change and counter-terrorism. Sri Lanka welcomes China’s willingness to have a progressive and project based engagement with SAARC. China welcomed Sri Lanka joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member.
Both sides agreed to draw an overall plan in order to promote joint efforts to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka in 2017.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe expressed his appreciation to the Government and the people of the People’s Republic of China for the warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe invited Premier Li Keqiang to visit Sri Lanka and Premier Li Keqiang conveyed his thanks for the invitation and expressed his willingness to visit Sri Lanka on mutually convenient dates.
During the visit, the two sides signed agreements covering areas of trade and investment, science and technology, health, judiciary, and etc. (Colombo Gazette)