Lankapage Logo Recent Top Stories
CP 14 YEARS
Go Home Home Serving the Sri Lankan community globally since 2000
go to LankaPage.com

Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Chinese President to visit Sri Lanka
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 12:41 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 05, Colombo: China's President Xi Jinping will this year become the first Chinese head of state to visit Sri Lanka in three decades, underlining Beijing's renewed push to deepen its strategic and economic presence in the neighborhood and in the Indian Ocean, according to a report in The Hindu.

Mr. Xi's visit was discussed in Beijing this week as Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, as the President's Special Envoy, met with the Chinese leadership.

The Chinese leader will become the first President to visit Sri Lanka since former leader Li Xiannian in 1986. His visit assumes significance in the context of strengthening ties between the two countries, with China investing heavily in the island nation.

A $500 million- built port built by the Chinese was inaugurated in Colombo last year giving Beijing a strong foothold in one of the busiest international shipping routes in the world. With heavy investment in infrastructure, including in a massive port it helped build in Hambantota along Sri Lanka's southern coast, China is said to have surpassed Japan and India as the biggest contributor to investments in the island nation.

'The China card'

Foreign policy experts have often pointed to Sri Lanka playing the "China card" against India, which has invested in some key projects in the neighbouring country, including a massive housing project targeting 50,000 homes in the war-torn north that it is currently engaged in.

For Chinese President Xi, Sri Lanka has become a particularly important country as a crucial point on his government's signature "maritime silk road" economic initiative, which the President unveiled in October in a bid to boost maritime connectivity and economic ties in the neighbourhood.

Mr. Xi is likely to stop in Colombo as he visits India later this year.

Pakistan is also an expected destination, according to analysts, as Chinese leaders usually do not visit India without stopping in Pakistan subsequently, as Premier Li Keqiang did last year. Mr. Li's visit to India last May was his first overseas visit after taking office.

On Wednesday, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang discussed with Sri Lankan Minister Basil Rajapaksa on-going talks over a free trade agreement. He called on both sides "to begin negotiation on their proposed free trade agreement as soon as possible, encourage Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Sri Lanka and strengthen the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries", the official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

Mr. Wang also said that the upcoming visit by Mr. Xi would be "a diplomatic landmark" for both countries, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing quoted him as saying in a statement.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa hailed China's contribution to Sri Lanka's development, telling Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng that Colombo was willing to fast track free trade negotiations with China emerging as "the largest single development partner". He also noted that there was a 140 per cent increase in tourist arrivals from China in the past year.

ColomboPage - Recent 10 Stories
President orders to resolve Sri Lanka's health sector issues within three months
-- [1 minutes ago]
India will not endorse any foreign intervention in Sri Lankan affairs - BJP leader
-- [42 minutes ago]
Sri Lanka, India discuss eradicating growing drug menace
-- [2 hours ago]
Sri Lanka Central Bank lobbies in US to improve communication between the two countries
-- [2 hours ago]
UN Chief encourages Sri Lanka to cooperate with the international inquiry
-- [4 hours ago]
Japanese Vice-Minister, Sri Lankan President discuss Colombo city development
-- [4 hours ago]
No decision to increase fuel prices in Sri Lanka, Petroleum Minister says
-- [9 hours ago]
Sri Lanka opposition party leader to hand over Uva PC election to Sajith Premadasa - report
Junior heath sector workers of Sri Lanka state hospitals launch strike
Sri Lanka Health Ministry inspects all cosmetic clinics in the country

Copyright © 2000, 2014 by LankaPage.com (LLC) :
The news and other contents on ColomboPage are copyrighted property of LankaPage.com, LLC. Any unauthorized use of any information on ColomboPage may constitute a violation of copyright laws. You need written permission to reproduce, republish, post, transmit, broadcast or distribute, material from this site from LankaPage.com, LLC. However, news organizations or broadcasters in Sri Lanka may republish the news items in ColomboPage with proper acknowledgment to ColomboPage.