China, Sri Lanka pledge to cement friendship

Colombo, Sep 10 (IANS) China and Sri Lanka have agreed to boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation with Beijing encouraging its entrepreneurs to invest in Sri Lanka and to help deepen mutual exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism, media and other areas.

At a meeting here Monday between Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne and Liu Yunshan, senior leader of the Communist Party of China, both countries agreed to strengthen and promote bilateral friendship and cooperation.

Liu, First Secretary of the CPC Central Secretariat, arrived here Sunday night on a three-day official visit, reports Xinhua.

Liu hailed the "high level of mutual political trust" and thanked the south Asian country for its support on issues involving China's core interests.

He said that consolidation of the China-Sri Lanka friendship "not only serves the interests of both nations, but also helps promote peace, cooperation and development of the whole region".

He said the two countries bettered their relationship to a strategic cooperative partnership in May, and China was ready to work with Sri Lanka to grasp this opportunity and boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Jayaratne, for his part, said the Sri Lanka-China friendship has been deeply rooted in the hearts of both peoples and bilateral cooperation has witnessed steady expansion.

The prime minister expressed his gratitude for Chinese assistance for his country's development, and reaffirmed Sri Lanka's support for China's efforts to safeguard its core interests.

Liu and Jayaratne also witnessed the signing of several bilateral cooperation agreements.

Before his talks with Jayaratne, Liu met Sri Lankan Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and exchanged views with him on bilateral economic cooperation.

On the same day, Liu also met Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the main opposition United National Party and a former prime minister of Sri Lanka.


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