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* Japan pledges to assist Sri Lanka to become a regional hub in the Indian Ocean
Wed, Apr 12, 2017, 06:28 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 12, Tokyo: The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe has pledged to assist Sri Lanka under the Free and Open Indo-Pacific concept to fulfill the island nation's objectives of becoming a regional hub in the Indian Ocean.

The Japanese Prime Minister has pledged his government's assistance when he met with the visiting Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday in Tokyo.

"I had a successful discussion with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, where the relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan was further solidified. Prime Minister Abe pledged that, he would assist Sri Lanka to fulfill our objectives of becoming a regional hub in the Indian Ocean," Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said in a communiqué following the meeting.

During the meeting, the two leaders reached an agreement for Sri Lanka to promote Japanese FDI and technology investments into Sri Lanka. The agreement is expected to yield benefits for both nations' economies as well as the digital sectors.

The two prime ministers have agreed for a stable maritime order in the world and free movement of ships in the Indian Ocean, and Premier Wickremesinghe stated that Sri Lanka would take the initiative to hold discussions on the freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean.

He expressed confidence that the summit will be a platform to pursue a common understanding towards upholding peace and security in the Indian Ocean.

The Sri Lankan Premier stated that while the country is committed to upholding peace and security in the region, Sri Lanka would not commit to support any military action.

"I concluded that while all ports within the country will be controlled by the Sri Lanka Navy, the National Government led by President Sirisena places high value on friendship with all countries - a decision which is now bearing fruit, as we are no longer an isolated nation," Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.

The Premier had also expressed Sri Lanka's support towards the 2025 Japan Expo convention.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe along with a 10-member delegation are currently in Tokyo undertaking a five day official visit to Japan on the invitation of the Japanese government.


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