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* China assures Sri Lanka strong support to safeguard national independence
Tue, Feb 11, 2014, 08:38 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 11, Beijing: China and Sri Lanka agreed today to boost cooperation and elevate their bilateral relationship to a Strategic Co-operative Partnership.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi today assured Sri Lanka's Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris, who is visiting Beijing on a four-day official visit, that China will extend Sri Lanka strong support in international to defend the country's independence.

The Chinese Minister told his Sri Lankan counterpart that China opposes other countries' interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka under the pretext of human rights issues and expressed support for Sri Lanka's efforts to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The principal focus of the discussion was the elevation of the bilateral relationship between the two countries to a Strategic Co-operative Partnership, covering four main areas - political cooperation, defence and security, economic relations, and cultural matters.

They considered practical arrangements in each of these areas and modalities to expedite progress in each sector.

Prof. Peiris has apprised the Chinese Minister of Sri Lanka's situation and the significant progress made by the country since the cessation of hostilities.

Minister Wang has assured Professor Peiris of the strong support which China will continue to extend to Sri Lanka in respect of these issues in all international fora. They agreed on mechanisms to promote closer dialogue and collaboration between the two countries with regard to political issues.

Sri Lankan Minister also met with the Chinese Vice Premier Li Yuanchao today and discussed the growing cooperation between the two countries.

Calling on both countries strengthen their strategic cooperation partnership, the Chinese Vice said China-Sri Lanka relations had entered a new stage of development after the two heads of state announced an upgrade of relations to strategic cooperation partnership last year.

He expressed hope that the two sides would facilitate pragmatic cooperation in accordance with the countries' national development strategies and offer stronger support and reliable friendship to each other.

Prof. Peiris said Sri Lanka hopes to boost high-level visits and all-round cooperation with China and push forward the bilateral partnership.

Sri Lankan Minister's visit to China comes ahead of the United States' initiative to table a third resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council next month.

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