China, Sri Lanka pledge to further advance strategic cooperation
China and Sri Lanka pledged to further push forward their strategic cooperative partnership and inked a series of documents in such fields as economic cooperation, finance, medicare and transportation on Thursday.
During the talks with visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Beijing, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hailed the profound friendship between the two countries, saying the bilateral ties have withstood the test of time.
China is willing to deepen mutual trust, extend practical cooperation with Sri Lanka so as to take their strategic partnership of cooperation to a new height, Li said.
He said the continued development of China-Sri Lanka cooperation on major projects has brought benefits for the people of both countries.
“We welcome the resumption of the Colombo Port City project, and stand ready to work with Sri Lanka to push forward the construction steadily,” said Li.
The Sri Lankan government officially informed the Chinese investors of resuming the construction of the multi-billion dollar Port City project last month, one year after its suspension.
Li called on both sides to speed up the negotiations on the second phase operation of the Hambantota Port in the southern part of Sri Lanka, so as to help Sri Lanka give full play to its geological advantage to become an important international logistic hub.
He also called on both countries to conduct production capacity cooperation in order to exert China’s advantage on equipment manufacture and expedite Sri Lanka’s industrialization.
China encourages its companies to invest in Sri Lanka and participate in the cooperation in industrial parks, special economic zones, and the processing and manufacturing sector, Li said, calling for support from Sri Lanka.
For his part, Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka, faced with the task of economic and social development, is willing to learn from China’s experience and develop greater synergies between its own strategies and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, jointly building the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road proposed by China.
He said Sri Lanka will protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies in line with its law and foster a sound environment for Chinese investors.
Both prime ministers agreed to further advance FTA talks between the two countries, expressing the hope of seeing tangible results come out within the year.
They also called for enhanced cooperation on construction of ports, airports, roads, railways and in the fields of finance, science and technology and culture.
Prior to the talks, Li held a welcoming ceremony for Wickremesinghe. The two prime ministers witnessed the signing of seven deals on economic and technological cooperation, extradition, finance, medical care and transportation after the talks.
Also on Thursday, China’s top legislator Zhang Dejiang met with Wickremesinghe on further enhancing parliamentary exchanges between the two countries.
Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), said the NPC is willing to maintain exchanges with Parliament of Sri Lanka in such areas of state governance and legislation, calling on both sides to improve legal environment to facilitate pragmatic cooperation and consolidate the traditional friendship.
Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka is ready to promote the exchanges between the law-making bodies of the two nations.
Wickremesinghe arrived in Beijing on Wednesday night for a four-day official visit to China.(Xinhua)