1957–2017 Celebrating 60 years of friendship

Premier Zhou Enlai with Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike at the Independence Day rally in Colombo in February 1957.

Sri Lanka, which established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1957, commemorated 60 years of friendship, collaboration and trade (in 2017) with a coffee table book marking the important junctures of this historic relationship.

This pictorial from the pages of the book, depicts a few of those moments of this six-decade-long friendship.

In the introduction, Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, who with the Embassy staff decided to publish the commemorative volume, points out that Sri Lanka was the first South Asian country to accept the ‘One China Policy’ in 1950 and in 1952 came forward to sign the historical Rubber-Rice Agreement with China during a critical time where the former was facing a UN embargo. “This was the first trade agreement that was signed by China with a non-Communist country, and it has been renewed over 30 years, making it perhaps one of the longest effective trade agreements between any two countries.”

In the 21st century, the relationship between the two countries is of critical importance, as Dr. Kodituwakku noted, considering Sri Lanka’s key position in China’s One Belt One Road initiative.

“President Xi Jinping, when he responded to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister at the recent Belt and Road International Forum, said, ‘Sri Lanka was known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, but from now onwards, it would become the ‘Pearl of the Maritime Silk Road’’.” 

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