Oct 10, Colombo: A seven-member high level Chinese delegation led by former Chinese Foreign Minister and current member of the Communist Party Political Bureau Yang Jiechi called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees Friday (Oct 09).
This is the first visit of a Chinese diplomatic mission to the South Asian region since the global coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting was held to further strengthen Sri Lanka-China cooperation in the areas of fighting the global epidemic of COVID-19 and reviving economic ties.
Welcoming the delegation Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he was very pleased to welcome Mr. Yang Jiechi back to Sri Lanka.
“I hope you have had a very good discussion with President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. We always look forward to maintaining close cooperation between the two countries.”
The delegation led by Yang Jiechi, Politburo member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat earlier in the day.
“I am pleased that Sri Lanka and China have been able to further strengthen the existing strong bilateral ties through this visit. I thank the Chinese Government for its generous support to Sri Lanka in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic,” Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said noting that this is the first visit of a Chinese diplomatic mission to the South Asian region since the global breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Chinese government should be thanked for donating safety equipment and medical supplies to protect Sri Lankan citizens in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic,” he added.
The Prime Minister expressed hope that the Chinese government will be able to use the long-standing friendship between the two countries to rebuild investor confidence in working to build Sri Lanka’s economy.
The Prime Minister said that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic, the government is interested in accepting investments worldwide, with the Port City of Colombo being the priority.
He hoped that the Chinese government would be able to encourage Chinese companies to come and invest in Sri Lanka, adding that it would help generate export earnings as well as create employment opportunities for Sri Lankans, especially young people.
In this context, the Prime Minister pointed out that the tourism sector has been severely impacted globally and that Sri Lanka is keen to rebuild Sri Lanka's tourism industry and provide a safe haven for tourists from around the world, following the advice of health authorities.
The Prime Minister said that he hopes to work closely with the Chinese Government to find collective solutions to the common challenges posed by the epidemic, including the fight to end the global pandemic and the development of economic ties in Sri Lanka.
Congratulating Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on his election victory, Former Chinese Foreign Minister and current member of the Communist Party Political Bureau Yang Jiechi said that the People's Republic of China and Sri Lanka have a historically strong friendship.
Yang Jiechi noted that the friendship between the two countries is still being updated and recalled that the two countries are working together to defeat the COVID-19 epidemic.
Mr. Yang said that China would continue to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in defeating COVID-19 and that Sri Lanka had excellent control of COVID-19.
He pointed out that China as well as Sri Lanka have achieved common successes from the economic cooperation between the two countries and expressed confidence that the Chinese government has always encouraged Chinese companies to invest in Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka has already received our contribution to the development process related to the Colombo Port City and other projects. The tourism sector is very important for the relationship between the two countries. We hope that those relations will continue as soon as the COVID-19 situation is brought under control. China has increased imports of local products from Sri Lanka.”
“We hope that our visit will further expand the relationship between the two countries. I hope that the President of Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister and the President of China Xi Jinping will further enhance bilateral relations and further expand the development activities of both countries on the basis of economic cooperation,” said Mr. Yang Jiechi.
Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, Namal Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa, Bandula Gunawardena, Johnston Fernando, Prof. GL Peiris, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance SR Attygalle, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China Dr. Palitha Kohona and others were present at the occasion.