Sri Lanka says the health protocol was strictly followed during the visit by a top Chinese delegation to Colombo yesterday.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said that the first ever visit by Chinese leaders, during the Covid-19 pandemic to Colombo was organized under strict compliance of the health protocol – an air-bubble concept, of the Ministry of Health.
The Sri Lankan Government has come under fire for allowing the Chinese delegation to visit Colombo at a time when the coronavirus pandemic was having a serious impact on the country.
The Foreign Ministry said that as part of the Government’s sustained efforts at strengthening neighbourly relations, the Foreign Ministry facilitated the high-level Chinese delegation composed of a key Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party and Diplomat Yang Jiechi along with the Chairman of China’s International Development Cooperation Agency Wang Xiatao and Chinese Foreign Ministry official Cheng Song to arrive in Sri Lanka.
The delegation met and held discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday, 9 October, in the presence of Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and other Government Ministers and dignitaries.
Taking stock of the economic cooperation, the leaders recalled the catalytic role played by the Chinese FDI projects operational in Sri Lanka valued at over USD 3 billion, and the significant employment opportunities the projects have so far generated. The delegation and the Government underscored the importance of concluding the projects early towards reaping benefits from the full potential of these mega Foreign Direct Investments in the country.
Recalling the immense support extended by the Chinese government in times of the COVID pandemic, the President thanked the delegation for the valuable assistance and support consistently made available by the Chinese Government. The leaders also expressed their gratitude for the continued support and solidarity extended to Sri Lanka during the humanitarian operation in the north and China’s steadfast support in the Human Rights Council in trying times.
Reviewing the two-way trade, the Government requested the Chinese leaders to facilitate market access to some of Sri Lanka’s unique commodities that could find demand in the Chinese domestic market towards increasing the trade turnover and improving the trade balance which is in favour of China. Both agreed the export basket to China need to be reviewed in order to increase the trade volume and the need to resume negotiations on the stalled talks on the Sri Lanka –China FTA. (Colombo Gazette)