Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday (April 07) welcomed the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at a state ceremony in Beijing and called for expanding the pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe accompanied by a business delegation arrived in China Wednesday on a four-day official visit at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart following the welcoming ceremony, Premier Li Keqiang called for expanding the pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka and pushing the bilateral relations to a new stage.
Premier Li said that China's friendship with Sri Lanka has a long tradition, and the two countries have been in good relationship under the sophisticated international situation since the setting up of diplomatic relations nearly 60 years ago.
"The long-time harmony is the wishes of the two countries, and also the result of the efforts from the people in all circles," Premier Li said.
He said China is glad to strengthen the exchange with people of high-level of Sri Lanka, deepen political trust and closely coordinate the cooperation with the country in regional and international affairs.
Premier Li said advancing the cooperation will bring benefits to the people in both sides.
"China welcomes the resuming of the Colombo port construction and is willing to join hands with Sri Lanka to steadily expand the construction of the project," the Premier said.
The Chinese premier expressed his wishes that both sides will speed up the negotiation of the second phase of Hambantota port project, helping Sri Lanka to be an important transfer hub in international logistics.
"Both parties should strive for finishing the negotiation of China-Sri Lanka free trade agreement by year-end. China will develop industrial capacity cooperation with Sri Lankan plan to build an economic zone, and help speed up the construction of infrastructures and its industrialization process," said the Premier.
Chinese government encourages domestic enterprises to invest in Sri Lankan building of port industrial parks, special economic zones and manufacturing industry. The Premier said he wishes the move can be supported by the Sri Lanka government and to expand mutual communication in finance, technology, culture, and people-to-people exchange.
During the visit, the Sri Lankan Premier will also hold high level discussions with the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of The National People's Congress, Zhang Dejiang. The discussions are expected to help advance the relations between the two countries to a new level, according to the Prime Minister's office.
In a gesture that will renew the strong and historic ties between the United National Party and the Chinese Communist Party, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will held talks with the Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China, Song Tao.
The Premier invited Mr. Song Tao to attend the UNP 70th anniversary celebrations to be held in September as a special guest.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also held discussions with the President of The Export-Import Bank of China Mr. Liu Liange Liange. He described the discussions Mr. Liu Liange as "productive".
A group of business representatives from Sri Lanka accompanying the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will hold discussions with leading Chinese entrepreneurs, with a view to enhancing Chinese investments in Sri Lanka.
Undertaken with a view of strengthening the relations between China and Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's visit is expected to promote co-operation mechanisms between the two countries in the spheres of economic affairs, investment and technology. It is also expected to bolster co-operation in science, sports, tourism development, financial services and water resources management along with initiation of mobile clinics for kidney patients. During this visit, it is expected that many multilateral agreements will be entered into between the two countries.