Firm pledge from China to stand by Sri Lanka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Chinese President, Xi Jinping yesterday, March 29, vowed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in all sectors ensuring benefits to both nations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, while assuring continuous support for the sustainable development of Sri Lanka, informed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China firmly stands by Sri Lanka in the face of unjust pressure exerted at various multilateral forums.

The President in a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart from the Presidential Secretariat thanked the Government and the people of China for donating 600,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Sri Lanka.

He also paid his gratitude to President Xi and the Chinese Government for standing by Sri Lanka at the 46th session of UN Human Rights Council which concluded recently.

The Chinese President, while greeting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the upcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year, said that the pandemic situation helped take bilateral relations to new heights even though the pandemic was a challenge to both nations.

“The Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port Projects have vast potential in contributing to the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka. We hope to see the completion of these projects soon. The Port City Project will attract foreign investment while solving the unemployment issues in the country,” the Chinese President said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in turn said that Hambantota Port Project and development of infrastructure facilities are continuing in a satisfactory manner and urged the government of China to complete the project work.

He said that he is committed to put the country on the track of prosperity within the next four years in office. “The eradication of poverty is my prime concern for which we can take a cue from China,” President Rajapaksa said.

Chinese President Xi also said that China can lend a hand to Sri Lanka in the eradication of poverty adding that China succeeded in ending extreme poverty among nine million people.

The Chinese leader, while recollecting his official visit to Sri Lanka in 2014, invited President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to pay an official visit to his country. President Rajapaksa in turn said that he was unable to visit to Beijing as scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes to visit China at a mutually convenient date.

The President also appreciated the swap facility offered by the People’s Bank of China to the Central Bank and reiterated that this facility will lead to financial stability.

The President also sought Chinese assistance for the establishment of a Technology University in Hambantota as a symbol of close and cordial relations between the two nations while extending best wishes for the centenary anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.