Aug 30, Colombo: China, which is marking 55 years of diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka this year, is ready to take the relationship further and advance in the all-round cooperation partnership of sincere mutual support and ever-lasting friendship between the two countries, the visiting Chinese Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie said Thursday.
Addressing tri-service student military officers under training at Sri Lanka's Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) in Sapugaskanda today, General Liang said that China-Sri Lanka friendship has "withstood the test of international vicissitude" and the two countries always maintained good cooperation.
General Liang who arrived with a delegation of 23 senior military officers in Colombo on Wednesday for a five-day visit at the invitation of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development is the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit Sri Lanka.
The Chinese Defence Minister explained that the Indian Ocean is an important energy and material transportation route for China as five of its 14 neighbors are South Asian nations.
China therefore, attaches great importance to its relations with the South Asian nations, and commits itself to forging harmonious co-existence and mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with them, the visiting Minister said.
He emphasized that Chinese Army's efforts in conducting friendly exchanges and cooperation with its counterparts in the South Asian nations are intended for maintaining regional security and stability and not targeted at any third party.
Recalling that Sri Lanka is also one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China, General Liang said that under the present leadership of the Sri Lankan government, Sri Lankan people are united in their efforts of maintaining domestic political stability and actively conducting post-war construction.
"Let's join our hands, and work together for opening up a new chapter in the China-Sri Lanka friendly and cooperative relations, and contribute for the welfare of our two peoples and peace and development of the world," the General told the Sri Lankan student military officers.
China is providing US$ 100 million (Rs. 13.2 billion) for army welfare projects initiated by the Ministry of Defence to set up accommodation and infrastructure facilities in army camps in the north and east.