“Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was received by HE Yang Jiechi State Councilor and Secretary General of the Foreign Affairs Leading Group of the People’s Republic of China at the Daioyutai State Guest House in Beijing on Tuesday the 29th.
A cordial exchange of views was followed by a banquet hosted by HE Yang Jiechi.
The Chines leader welcoming the former President and his delegation referred to the phenomenal progress achieved with respect of the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and the People’s Republic of China during the period of office of President Rajapaksa. He said that the government of China was deeply appreciative of President Rajapaksa’s contribution in this regard.
HE Yang Jiechi noted that the year 2017 marks the 65th anniversary of the Rubber Rice Pact signed between the two counties and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. He noted with particular pleasure that the bilateral relationship was upgraded to the level of a strategic partnership during the tenure of President Rajapaksa in office.
President Rajapaksa said he was particularly pleased with the major infrastructure projects including the Mahagam Ruhunupura International Port, the Matthala International Airport, Norocholai Coal Power Plant and many important highways which were inaugurated during his time. He paid tribute to China for the immense assistance that has been give to Sri Lanka during the continuous struggle against the Tiger Terrorist, and subsequently when Sri Lanka was being pursued relentlessly in the Human Rights Council and other International Fora.
HE Yang Jiechi observed that China takes a strong stand against external intervention in the domestic matters of Sri Lanka and disapproves of attempts to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka in the world using Humans rights as a political tool…
President Rajapaksa underlined the importance of SARRC and the relevance of its role in the contemporary context. There was agreement that this could be a useful forum for the achievement of the interest of South Asia countries in many spheres.
HE Yang Jiechi recalled with pleasure his many visits to Sri Lanka commencing in the early 1980’s. He said he had accompanied President Xi Jin Pin when the Chinese leader visited Sri Lanka to inaugurate the Port City and other key projects.
Both sides agreed on the importance of people to people interaction. Having referred to the influence of Buddhism in enhancing the closeness between the two countries, President Rajapaksa requested his host to encourage more Buddhist pilgrims to visit Sri Lanka. The significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Sri Lanka was noted with satisfaction.
HE Yang Jiechi identified President Rajapaksa as a true friend of China and said he was particularly pleased to have the opportunity of welcoming him with the greatest warmth to the Chinese capital.
President Rajapaksa’s delegation consisted of Prof GL Peris former minister of external affairs, Hon LohanRatwatte Member of Parliament and Mr. UdithLokubandara Secretary to President Rajapaksa.”