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* President looks to China for Sri Lanka's economic development
Mon, May 14, 2018, 08:52 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena said China's continuous support is indispensable for Sri Lanka to realize its future development and make itself a new economic center of the Indian Ocean Region.

President Sirisena has said that his objective is to attract more investment and assistance from China for Sri Lanka's economic development as well as its people's livelihood.

The President has expressed these views when Ambassador of China, Cheng Xueyuan recently called upon President Sirisena at the President's Official Residence to exchange views on China-Sri Lanka relations and joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.

President Sirisena, stressing that the friendship between the two countries dates back to ancient times has highly appreciated the tremendous assistance provided by China to the economic and social development of Sri Lanka.

The President has stressed that Sri Lanka strongly supports China's Belt and Road Initiative, and attaches great importance to the joint mega-projects of Colombo Port City as well as the Hambantota Port and Industrial Park.

He said that Instructions have been given to concerned government departments by the President's Office to accelerate the resolution of specific issues and make solid progress in the projects and looks forward to the early groundbreaking of the National Nephropathy Specialist Hospital assisted by the Chinese side to relief the pain of local patients.

Responding to the allegations of Chinese militarization at Hambantota Port, the President has emphasized that China as a sincere friend always reaches out with a helping hand when Sri Lanka facing difficulties.

The handing over of Hambantota Port after its long-term unsuccessful operation is another fresh example, the President has commented. The two countries' friendly cooperation in Hambantota Port is focusing on economic development without any other hidden agenda, he said.

Talking about the 71st World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva at the end of this month, the President reiterated Sri Lanka's unswerving support to the One China policy and China's position concerning the Taiwan issue on global arenas including the WHA.

Ambassador Cheng stressed that China attaches great importance to its friendly relations with Sri Lanka and is willing to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.

Based on the golden principles of "Consultation, Contribution and Shared Benefits", China will actively promote Sino-Lanka pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative to benefit the two countries and peoples, the Chinese Ambassador assured.

It is believed that under the joint efforts of both sides, especially under the personal guidance of the President, mega-projects of the Colombo Port City and Hambantota Comprehensive Development Project would rapidly develop to help Sri Lanka realize its development dream.

Ambassador Cheng opposed any ungrounded speculation on military purpose of the joint projects, warned of the danger that certain external forces are trying to attack the joint operation of the two sides in Hambantota as well as the friendly bilateral relations. China is willing to support Sri Lanka in developing its economy and improving its people's livelihood.

The Ambassador highlighted that the preliminary work of the National Nephropathy Specialist Hospital donated by China to Sri Lanka people has almost been completed and the construction will be started soon. It is expected to be inaugurated within two years, which will definitely bring great happiness to patients with kidney disease.


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