China readying red carpet for Sri Lanka PM
At least 10 bilateral deals and treaties, including on economic cooperation and extradition, are expected to be signed during Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickeremesinghe’s visit to China beginning on Wednesday. Both sides will continue discussions on a free trade agreement during Wickremesinghe’s first visit to China after assuming office last year. The trip comes days after China laid out the red carpet for Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s week-long visit. Nepal and China signed several treaties, which experts say, were broadly aimed at reducing the landlocked country’s dependence on India. Wickremesinghe’s visit too is expected to strengthen relations between Colombo and Beijing, which were said to have cooled following former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat in the 2015 election. The visit was supposed to be for two days but was extended by a day for Wickremesinghe’s meeting with President Xi Jinping, slated for April 8. He will meet Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, chairperson of the National People’s Congress (NPC) or Parliament.