Jan 14, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has sent a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping seeking Chinese vaccine for COVID-19 coronavirus, the Foreign Ministry said.
The letter by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the Chinese President was handed over when Sri Lanka's new Ambassador to China Dr. Palitha TB Kohona presented a copy of his credentials, formally, consistent with protocol, to Director General of the Department of Protocol Hong Lei at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Beijing on Tuesday (12), the Foreign Ministry said.
Mr. Hong warmly welcomed the Ambassador and stated that China is happy to receive the Sri Lankan Ambassador who is a renowned and experienced diplomat. He further stated that China expects the relations between the two countries would prosper further during his tenure.
Dr. Kohona briefed Mr. Hong on the Covid-19 and the current economic situation in Sri Lanka and also his priorities during his tenure in China. He also referred to the letter written by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, seeking access to Chinese vaccines.
Recalling the historical, longstanding and mutually beneficial bilateral relations between the two countries, which commenced two millennia ago during the maritime Silk Road Era, Dr. Kohona expressed his confidence that the bilateral relations between the countries will be further consolidated in the coming years.
Dr. Kohona also expected that China and Sri Lanka would cooperate to the mutual benefit of both countries. In addition, during his tenure he hoped to encourage more investments, trade and tourism to happen.
Dr. Kohona stated that he was carrying a special gift and a personal message from the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping.
Mr. Hong responded that he was aware of the close friendship between both leaders. He further stated that the two countries have supported each other in the past and China could be counted as a friend in the future as well.
He stressed that Chinese companies will be encouraged to engage with Sri Lanka as it continues to open up for trade and investment and the government of China will decide soon on the distribution of the vaccine.