(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, Hu Wei, has assured Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is ready to assist Sri Lanka’s economic recovery following the -COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chargé d’affaires called on President Rajapaksa Wednesday to conduct an in-depth discussion on the joint efforts of the two countries to fight the epidemic and strengthen economic and trade cooperation.
Hu Wei first handed over the list of recent aid materials to Sri Lanka from all channels in China, and presented the newly published “Chinese Practice to Fight the New Coronary Pneumonia Epidemic” to President Rajapaksa.
Hu Wei said that China attaches great importance to China-Sri Lanka relations and sincerely appreciates the firm support that Sri Lanka has given to China in the early stage of the outbreak.
“Sri Lanka is a special friend of China. The two countries have a long lasting and cordial relationship. You were with us when we faced the COVID-19 disaster recently. China is ready to give maximum support to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery after the Coronavirus epidemic.”
He assured that China will continue to do its utmost to assist Sri Lanka in fighting the epidemic. China also attaches great importance to Sri Lanka’s concerns about restoring the economy and getting out of the crisis, and is willing to discuss with Sri Lanka on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win results to discuss how to strengthen pragmatic cooperation between the two countries and overcome difficulties together.
The Acting Ambassador, in a cordial discussion with the President, quoting a Chinese saying that “True friendship is staying together in comfort and distress” said his government and the people are grateful to Sri Lanka for its policies.
“Therefore China’s expectation is to help Sri Lanka overcome its future challenges,” the envoy stressed adding that China’s central government as well as major corporations and banks will support the post-COVID-19 rebuilding of Sri Lanka’s economy.
Recalling China’s support for Sri Lanka since the historic Rubber-Rice Pact, President Rajapaksa said China immensely supported Sri Lanka during the conflict and when the post-conflict economic development began. “China has given us great help in the difficult times of Sri Lanka’s civil war, post-war development, and reconstruction after the Indian Ocean tsunami,” he said.
The President said that the COVID-19 pandemic has a devastating impact on the global economy as well as the Sri Lankan economy and the large drop in foreign exchange income is a major problem.
He explained that the income from the apparel industry and tourism have been lost due to the downturn in the world economy and the economic situation may take longer to recover from the recession.
“Sri Lanka plans to adopt a new development model based on a manufacturing economy,” President Rajapaksa said adding that the government expects the friendly nations to support to make it a success.
“Our sole expectation is not to get loans or financial aid. Attracting foreign Investment to contribute to the development of industries is a main objective. Favorable opportunities abound for foreign investment in a number of sectors, such as agriculture products and construction sectors. We invite countries including China to take advantage of this opportunity,” the President said.
Responding to an inquiry by the acting Ambassador on the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak, the President said that the overall prevalence of the disease has been controlled. He explained that there was a sudden increase in the number of patients in the past two and a half days and learning the lessons from it took appropriate measures to control the spread of the disease.
“This epidemic is another severe test for Sri Lanka. We sincerely thank the Chinese government, enterprises and individuals for their generous help in the fight against the epidemic situation. We are willing to further strengthen cooperation in the fight against the epidemic with China. We also look forward to China’s increased support for all aspects of Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and national development,” President Rajapaksa said.
President Rajapaksa expressed Sri Lanka’s sincere admiration for China’s achievements in fighting the epidemic, and he firmly supported the World Health Organization to continue to play a leading role in fighting the epidemic, and opposed politicizing and stigmatizing the epidemic.
China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to defend multilateralism and support the World Health Organization to play a positive role, The Chargé d’affaires Hu Wei said.
Secretary to the President Dr. PB Jayasundera and the head of the political wing of the Chinese embassy were also present.