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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2554

Strategic co-operative partnership the focus of discussions in Beijing

Beijing, 12 February, (Asiantribune.com):

Professor G.L.Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, held substantive discussions with Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, in Beijing on Tuesday. Minister Peiris was visiting Beijing as the Special Envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The principal focus of the discussion was the elevation of the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and the People’s Republic of China to a Strategic Cooperative Partnership, agreed on at the discussions between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Xi Jinping during President Rajapaksa’s State Visit in May last year.

The two Foreign Ministers noted that the special relationship straddles four main areas -- political co-operation, defence and security, economic relations, and cultural matters. They considered practical arrangements in each of these areas and modalities to expedite progress in each sector.

China’s Foreign Minister expressed total understanding of Sri Lanka’s situation and the significant strides made by the country since the cessation of hostilities.

The visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister gave his counterpart in the government of China a comprehensive overview of progress in this regard.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured Professor Peiris of the strong support which the People’s Republic of China will continue to extend to Sri Lanka in respect of these issues in all international fora. They agreed on mechanisms to promote closer dialogue and collaboration between the two countries with regard to political issues.

They recalled the visit last year by Mr. Liang Guanglie, the first Defence Minister of China to visit Sri Lanka, and expressed satisfaction with the range and quality of defence co-operation between the two countries. All-round defence co operation, with particular reference to maritime security, is facilitated by an existing mechanism -- the Joint Committee on Coastal and Maritime Co-operation which met in Beijing in August last year. In light of these initiatives, an annual strategic dialogue is timely, the Ministers agreed.

On the development of greater links in the field of trade and the economy, with feasibility studies regarding a Free Trade Agreement on the verge of completion, the Ministers were eager to put in place a fast tracking process. They considered technology transfer and value chain development to be of special importance. The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade has made a valuable contribution, they considered. They surveyed progress with regard to the large number of development projects supported by China in Sri Lanka, for which Minister Peiris expressed appreciation.

With tourist arrivals from China almost doubling last year, and with 120 entrepreneurs from China and 50 travel agents participating in the Business Forum held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo in November, the scope for further expansion of tourism and Chinese investment in tourism-related infrastructure, was discussed. Other areas considered in the discussions included education and training, assistance in strengthening the small and medium sector, agriculture and fisheries co-operation, and the world youth conference to be held in Colombo in May this year.

Accompanying the Minister at this discussion were Mr. Ranjith Uyangoda, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in the People’s Republic of China, Parliamentarians Niranjan Wickremasinghe and Thenuka Vidanagamage and Ms. Shobhini Gunasekera, Director General of the Ministry of External Affairs.

- Asian Tribune -

Strategic co-operative partnership the focus of discussions in Beijing
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