May 19, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be in China this week for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The President is scheduled to address the Conference, which will be held in Shanghai, China from May 20 to 21, under the theme "Strengthening the Trust and Cooperation and Building a Peaceful and Stable New Asia."
CICA is a multinational forum comprising 24 members and 13 observer states. CICA Member states include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
Sri Lanka holds "observer state" status along with Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Ukraine and the United States.
According to CICA, the Conference "is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia based on the recognition that there is a close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world."
This year, a number of world leaders including Iranian and Russian presidents and U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon are also scheduled to attend.
This will be 1st CICA summit Sri Lanka will be participating, after it received observer status in May 2013. The President will be accompanied by External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris.
During the visit, President Rajapaksa is expected to hold bilateral discussions with several other heads of state who will be China for the Conference.
Sri Lanka - China relations have remained strong with several high-level visits taking place. President Rajapaksa's last visit to China was last year in May during which the President held bilateral discussions with China's President Xi Jinping, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao.
The Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Air Chief Marshal Xu Qiliang was in Sri Lanka earlier this month, accompanied by a high-level military delegation - the highest level Chinese military delegation that has ever visited Sri Lanka.