At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will pay an official visit to China from February 27 to 28. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told media on 17 February, both Sri Lanka and India are “important and friendly neighbours of China,” and good relationships between the three countries will benefit regional stability.
The Chinese government welcomed the growing partnership between India and Sri Lanka and expressed hope that it can develop its own relationships with both countries.
Q: Please give us more details about Foreign Minister Samaraweera’s visit to China. What is China’s expectation for the visit?
A: Foreign Minister Samaraweera is the first cabinet minister of Sri Lanka who is coming to visit China following the formation of the new government in January. Both sides attach great importance to the visit, during which Chinese leaders will meet with Foreign Minister Samaraweera and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him.
Sri Lanka and China are neighbors with long-standing friendship. The bilateral relationship boasts a solid political, economic and social foundation. There has been close communication and contact between China and Sri Lanka at the senior level, since the latter’s formation of the new government. During the recent visit by Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao, the Special Envoy of the Chinese government, to Sri Lanka, he delivered the important message that the Chinese side values its relationship with Sri Lanka and stays committed to advancing friendly cooperation with Sri Lanka, which has received a positive response from the Sri Lankan leaders. We hope that the visit by Foreign Minister Samaraweera will be an opportunity for the two sides to exchange views on the development of China-Sri Lanka relations under the new circumstances and make a plan for high-level mutual visits and bilateral cooperation in various fields, in a bid to promote the China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership featuring sincere mutual assistance and long-lasting friendship.
Q: The President of Sri Lanka who is visiting India has reached several cooperation agreements with the Indian side, including those on civil nuclear energy. What is China’s comment on that?
A: Both Sri Lanka and India are important and friendly neighbors of China. We hope to work with India to further develop the strategic cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity. We also look forward to fostering the strategic cooperative partnership featuring sincere mutual assistance and long-lasting friendship with the Sri Lankan side. We hope that both China-India relations and China-Sri Lanka relations can maintain the sound momentum of development. Meanwhile, we welcome the constant growth of relations between Sri Lanka and India. If the three pairs of relations can promote each other through sound interactions, it will benefit regional peace, stability and development.(China FM)