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* Sri Lanka, China sign 16 new agreements
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 12:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka and China have signed 16 new agreements focusing mostly on infrastructure development following discussions between the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the visiting Chinese leader Wu Bangguo yesterday.

Wu Bangguo, China's top legislator and chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), is the highest Chinese official to visit Colombo after the end of the war. He arrived in the island on Saturday for a four-day official visit.

China and Sri Lanka should deepen their strategic coordination and strengthen bilateral exchanges between governments, legislatures and local authorities, so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust, Wu has said, according to Chinese official news agency Xinhua.

The Chinese leader has said that his government is willing to expand imports from Sri Lanka to promote trade balance and facilitate bilateral cooperation.

He has suggested that the two countries should strengthen investment cooperation in areas like infrastructure and tourism.

The two countries signed agreements on a wide range of cooperation that covers infrastructure development in transport, tourism, telecommunications, and port development, official government media said in a release.

Agreements for funding several projects including Colombo Lotus Tower Project, Mobile Network Expansion Project and Hambantota Port Development Phase II Project and energy were also signed following the meeting yesterday.

Three Memoranda of Understanding on Coastal and Marine Cooperation and Finance cooperation have also been signed.

A mutual agreement has been signed to exempt holders of diplomatic, service or official passports and passports for public affairs between Sri Lanka and China from visa requirements.

Agreement on economic and technical cooperation between the two countries was also signed.

(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)



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