Sri Lanka, China will face common challenges together - PM

Former Chinese Foreign Minister and the current Communist Party Political Bureau Member Yang Jiechi paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo yesterday. Picture courtesy Prime Minister’s Media Division

Sri Lanka hopes to work closely with the Chinese government to find collective solutions to the common challenges posed by the COVID-19 epidemic, including the fight to end the global epidemic and reviving economic ties, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told a visiting high level Chinese delegation yesterday. A 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 yesterday.

This is the first visit by a Chinese diplomat to the South Asian region since the global COVID-19 epidemic.

While thanking the Chinese government for donating safety equipment and medical supplies to protect Sri Lankan citizens in the face of the epidemic the Premier had said much need to be done to recover from the economic impact of the country after the COVID-19 epidemic, the Prime Minister’s media division in a statement yesterday.

“I hope that we will be able to use our long standing friendship between the Chinese government to rebuild confidence among investors in efforts to build our economy”.

The Prime Minister said in the aftermath of the epidemic, the government was interested in attracting investments from all over the world, with the priority being the port city of Colombo.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said 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.

“I am pleased that Sri Lanka and China have been able to re-establish 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”.

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, inline with the advice of health authorities. Former Chinese Foreign Minister and current member of the Communist Party Political Bureau Yang Jiechi expressing his views said there is a historically strong friendship between China and Sri Lanka. Yang Jiechi noted that the friendship between the two countries is still growing and recalled that the two countries are working together to defeat the COVID-19 epidemic.

He said China would continue to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in defeating the epidemic and that Sri Lanka had done well to control the disease. Yang Jiechi pointed out that the Chinese government has always encouraged Chinese companies to invest in Sri Lanka.China has already contributed 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”

He also pointed out that China has increased imports of Sri Lankan products.

We hope that our visit will further expand relations between the two countries, he said.

Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, Namal Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa, Bandula Gunawardena, Johnston Fernando, Prof. GL Peiris Pavithri Wanniarachchi, Minister of State 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. 

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