The new Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today.
The Foreign Ministry said that the Government of the People’s Republic of China with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka appointed Qi Zhenhong as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Sri Lanka.
He replaces Cheng Xueyuan who had completed his term in Sri Lanka and left for another assignment.
Qi Zhenhong presented his credentials to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House, Colombo 01 today.
Meanwhile, the President’s Office said that during the brief cordial discussion with the Chinese Ambassador following the ceremony, President Rajapaksa expressed his satisfaction over the long-standing and lasting cooperation and friendship with mutual benefits between Sri Lanka and China.
“China extended its support towards Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development, especially after winning the war against separatism. Colombo Port City, Hambantota Port, Southern Expressway are some of such initiatives. Some segments of the society criticized this cooperation between China and Sri Lanka. Their argument was that these projects would not bear fruits. But the truth is the opposite. Projects started with the assistance of China have high income generation and employment creation potentials. My expectation is to see the full completion of these projects before the end of my tenure,” the President said.
The President said that Sri Lanka has made it a priority to attract investments instead of further foreign borrowings in its development drive.
“There are vast investment opportunities available in our country. Agricultural sector, Communication Technology and education are special among them. Livelihood of around 30% of the population of Sri Lanka depends on rural agriculture. Achieving the kind of rural development that China has reached over the past two or three decades and to improve the living standards of the rural population in Sri Lanka is one of my prime objectives. We seek your assistance in this regard,” the President told the new Ambassador.
In response, Ambassador Zhenhong said that his Government is ready to make the maximum possible contributions to the success of Sri Lanka’s economic and social development endeavours.
Extending President Xi Jinping’s good wishes to President Rajapaksa, the Chinese envoy said he aims to further enhance long-standing friendship between the two countries and to strengthen development and strategic cooperation.
“After assuming office, you united the people of Sri Lanka. You guided the country on the path of economic growth while improving the living standards of the people. We witnessed how the government and the people of Sri Lanka stood together in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic,” the new Ambassador said. He also said that China wishes to see Sri Lanka emerge as a prosperous nation.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Deputy Head of the Chinese Embassy Hu Wei and the Head of the Political Division Luo Chong were also present on the occasion.(Colombo Gazette)