Sri Lanka to use China’s Maritime Silk Road for infrastructure development
China and Sri Lanka on Saturday issued a joint statement to demonstrate their commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation in various fields. The statement was issued before Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe concluded his four-day official visit to China. During the visit, Wickremesinghe called on Chinese President Xi Jinping, held talks with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang and met with Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The two sides shared the view that China and Sri Lanka relations have withstood the test of time and the two sides will work for an all-weather friendship, the statement said, stressing they will remain committed to their friendship to deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation and to extend mutual support in various regional and international fora. The two sides reaffirmed their mutual support on issues of common interest. China supports Sri Lanka’s efforts in maintaining national unity, peace and reconciliation and in promoting economic development, said the statement, noting Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China policy and support to the efforts by the Chinese government to safeguard its national unity. The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. Sri Lanka calls for the settlement of disputes and differences through constructive dialogue, consultation and cooperation by the parties concerned in accordance with international laws and practices, according to the statement, adding Sri Lanka also appreciates China’s efforts and readiness to promote such dialogue in order to maintain peace and security in the region. On pragmatic cooperation, the statement said that Sri Lanka reiterated its active participation in the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by China. The two sides will use the development of a 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road as an opportunity to further advance infrastructure development, the China-Sri Lanka FTA negotiations, promote joint ventures and expand cooperation in the areas of economy, culture, science and technology, and people-to-people contacts. Sri Lanka welcomes the positive engagement of Chinese enterprises in the country’s economic development, said the statement, stressing Sri Lanka also welcomes further investment from Chinese enterprises and will continue its cooperation with Chinese companies by creating a favorable investment climate and business environment for Chinese enterprises. China will continue to encourage competitive Chinese companies to invest in Sri Lanka, to cooperate with a view to achieving mutual benefits, it noted, adding the Chinese side will encourage its financial institutions to provide financial support to the construction of infrastructure in Sri Lanka. Both sides agreed to enhance their cooperation in the fields of transport, power and other infrastructure, industrial parks and manufacturing industry. Sri Lanka announced the resumption of work of the Colombo Port City Project and expressed the willingness to facilitate and support the implementation of this project and to cooperate with Chinese companies to promote other major projects.