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* China will provide assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity
Wed, Jan 12, 2022, 11:28 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 12, Colombo: China has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity and will continue to do so in the future, China has assured.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin responding to a media query at the regular press briefing on Monday whether China meet Sri Lanka’s request for debt relief said since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Sri Lanka have been showing each other understanding and support.

“China has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity and will continue to do so in the future. It is believed that with the concerted efforts of the Sri Lankan government and people, the country will surely overcome the temporary difficulties as soon as possible and usher in renewed and greater development,” he said.

The spokesperson further responding to the criticism that Sri Lanka is struggling economically because of expensive joint Chinese investments that are not profitable, said it is not true to say that joint Chinese investments are expensive and not profitable.

He said China-Sri Lanka cooperation is mutually beneficial and has been warmly welcomed by all sectors in Sri Lanka.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s remarks come following Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request to restructure its debt to China and initiate a concessional trade-credit scheme during the visit of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the island on Sunday (09).

Following is the full text of media briefing by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson:

Question: Will China meet Sri Lanka’s request for debt relief? Some people also believe that part of why Sri Lanka is struggling economically is due to expensive joint Chinese investments that are not profitable. What’s your response to that? 

Spokesperson: During the visit in Sri Lanka, State Councilor Wang Yi joined Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in attending the launching ceremony of celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact. He also met separately with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris. Wang said that China-Sri Lanka friendship enjoys a long history, and the Rubber-Rice Pact demonstrates the two countries’ national character in the fight against hegemony and power politics. President Xi Jinping’s historic state visit to Sri Lanka in 2014 opened a new chapter in bilateral friendly cooperation. China firmly supports Sri Lanka in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. As we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact, China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to carry forward the spirit of the Rubber-Rice Pact characterized by independence, self-reliance, unity and mutual support, further deepen political mutual trust, fight against the epidemic together, synergize development strategies, promote multilateralism and consolidate and expand the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership. We will make good use of the two flagship projects of Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port to help Sri Lanka realize its “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, and better deliver benefit to the two countries and peoples.

The Sri Lankan side said that China, as a great friend of Sri Lanka, never interferes in its internal affairs and always comes forward and extends a helping hand when Sri Lanka faces difficulties, which Sri Lanka will always remember. Sri Lanka will continue to be firmly committed to the one-China policy and staunchly support China’s just proposals on international occasions. Sri Lanka is ready to work with China to hold successful activities to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact, and strengthen cooperation in economy, trade, finance, tourism and infrastructure construction to bring more benefits to the two peoples.

During his visit, State Councilor Wang Yi also said that island countries in the Indian Ocean have similar experiences and common needs, boasts similar natural endowments and share similar development goals. They have favorable conditions and full potential for strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation. The Chinese side proposes that a forum on the development of island countries in the Indian Ocean can be held at an appropriate time to pool consensus and form synergy for common development.

As you can tell from what I have just said, it is untrue to say that joint Chinese investments are expensive and not profitable. China-Sri Lanka cooperation is mutually beneficial and has been warmly welcomed by all sectors in Sri Lanka.

Now, coming back to the debt issue you raised, since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Sri Lanka have been showing each other understanding and support. China has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity and will continue to do so in the future. It is believed that with the concerted efforts of the Sri Lankan government and people, the country will surely overcome the temporary difficulties as soon as possible and usher in renewed and greater development.

 

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