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* China appreciates Sri Lanka's support for Maritime Silk Route initiative
Sat, May 3, 2014, 09:39 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 03, Colombo: China has appreciated Sri Lanka's support extended to the "Maritime Silk Route" (MSR) initiative proposed by the Chinese leadership, which advocates harnessing primarily economic cooperation in the Maritime Silk Route Belt, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry said.

The Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin during his visit to Sri Lanka recently to participate in the 9th Round of the bilateral political consultations between the two countries has stressed that through the implementation of the MSR concept both countries would benefit in a number of key areas including fisheries and shipping.

During the bilateral talks, China has proposed to convene an oceanography seminar and deepen cooperation in maritime science environment protection, and intimated interest to increase investments targeting the development of the Chinese-built Hambantota Port and its vicinity.

Reviewing the present status of bilateral relations, both Sri Lanka and China have agreed to institute a mechanism to convene a Joint Commission, headed by the two Foreign Ministers and to initiate an annual defense dialogue.

The External Affairs Ministry said during the consultations, the multi-dimensional and deep-rooted bilateral partnership between the two countries was extensively reviewed with special focus on extending the scope for cooperation for mutual benefit.

The two sides have agreed to expedite the finalization of the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

With the realization of this FTA, apart from enhancing market access for local products, Sri Lanka expects to carve out a mutually beneficial partnership with China in technology transfers, value chain development and also in Research and Development (R&D).

During discussions with the External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, the Chinese Vice Minister expressed China's fullest support for upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, while denouncing the interventionist agenda of certain countries triggered by political motives.

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