(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – “China has always been Sri Lanka’s lifelong friend and nowhere in history have there been any disagreement between us. That is why our countries have always been able to make favorable deals,” Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told the visiting State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi Sunday.
Addressing a function held at the Port of Colombo Sunday (09) with the participation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and China and the 70th anniversary of the Super Rubber Rice Agreement, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appreciated China’s assistance towards Sri Lanka’s economic revival and financial stability.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi joined the Premier in opening the lane in front of the light dock in the Port City of Colombo to the public.
Following a special request by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on behalf of Sri Lankan medical students awaiting to return to China to complete their studies, Foreign Minister Wang Yi immediately instructed the Ambassador of China in Sri Lanka to work closely with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate the return of Sri Lankan medical students.
The matter was discussed during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Rajapaksa and the visiting Foreign Minister at Temple Trees this morning.
Currently, approximately 1,200 medical students, including 400 final-year students, who were studying at Chinese medical institutions, are waiting to return to China to complete their studies. They have been unable to return due to restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.
In response to the Prime Minister’s special request, Foreign Minister Yi assured that Sri Lankan students will be given highest priority.
During the bilateral discussions between the two delegations, a host of other matters were also discussed, including further support for the vaccine program, attracting investments to the Port City and the Hambantota Industrial Zone, increasing tourism from China to Sri Lanka, increasing Sri Lankan exports to China and enhancing cultural cooperation, especially in the area of Buddhist ties.
Following the discussions, the delegations signed the following agreements:
• Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation
• Letter of Exchange on the Project of Subsidized Housing for Low Income Category in Colombo
• Handover Certificate of the Technical Cooperation Project for BMICH
• Handover Certificate of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Kidney Disease Mobile Screening Ambulance Vehicles
Foreign Minister Yi is on a one-day visit to Sri Lanka to launch the celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of Sri Lanka—China bilateral relations. Last year the Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued a commemorative coin to mark the 65th anniversary as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. A set of the coins were gifted to the visiting Foreign Minister by the Prime Minister.
Conveying best wishes from the President and Premier of China to Prime Minister Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister Yi said, “China will continue to do its best to provide all the necessary help and support [to Sri Lanka].”