Chinese FM Wang meets Lankan Prime Minister Rajapaksa; discusses investment promotion, tourism

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday and discussed many issues, including tourism promotion, investment and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as two countries marked the 65th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations. .

Wang, who is also a state councilor, arrived from the Maldives on Saturday for a two-day visit during which he is due to meet with the country’s top leaders.

Prime Minister Mahinda took to Twitter to announce that he had had a “very pleasant meeting” with Wang.

“I had a very pleasant meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of #China. Discussions focused on logistics to facilitate the return of the many medical students from #lka to China. A multitude of issues were also addressed, including tourism, investments, # COVID19SL relief and post Covid readiness, “he said on Twitter.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also thanked the Chinese government for its continued support to Sri Lanka.

“I thanked #China and its people for the continued support to #lka. As our two countries celebrate 65 years of bilateral relations, I hope this relationship we share will only grow and strengthen over the years. coming soon, ”he said. in another tweet.

Foreign Minister Jayanath Colombage said Foreign Minister Wang will also meet with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister GL Peiris during the visit.

His visit marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations and the 70th anniversary of the Lanka-China Rubber Rice Pact.

Signed in 1952, the Rubber-Rice Pact was a trade agreement between Lanka and China under which Colombo supplied rubber to Beijing in exchange for rice, leading to the establishment of diplomatic relations and the expansion of trade between the two countries.

The events marking these occasions will take place in the Chinese-built port city in central Colombo, one of several infrastructure development projects supported by China since 2010.

Foreign Minister Colombage said that new Chinese investment opportunities could be sealed by Sri Lanka during the visit of the Foreign Minister.

Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent months.

China protested Sri Lanka’s rejection of a shipment of organic fertilizers that local farmers and some experts said was contaminated.

The Sri Lankan high commercial court has blocked its payment here despite high-level interventions from China. The Chinese blacklisted the Sri Lankan state bank for failing to honor the payment.

Sri Lankan scientists have questioned the quality of the Chinese fertilizer shipment, saying that instead of helping, it could be harmful to crops.

However, on Friday, on the eve of Wang’s visit, the People’s Bank of Sri Lanka released US $ 6.9 million to the Chinese company.

China’s blacklisting of the Sri Lankan bank and the public clash between officials on both sides came amid growing concerns over an acute agricultural crisis in Sri Lanka, following the President Gotabaya’s decision in May of last year to suddenly switch from chemical fertilizers to organic fertilizers.

The move sparked protests from farmers who said the fertilizer ban would lead to reduced harvests, leading to a food crisis this year.

China suspended a project to install hybrid power plants in three Sri Lankan islands in December, citing a “third party” “security concern”, amid concerns over its location.

In early 2021, India lodged a “strong protest” with Lanka over the award of the tender to the Chinese company for the construction of renewable energy power plants in Delft, Nagadeepa and Analthivu.

Wang’s visit comes at a time when Sri Lanka faces its worst currency crisis ever.

By December, the reserve position had collapsed to just one month of imports, or just over $ 1 billion.

However, at the end of the year, the Central Bank announced that the reserve position had improved and that the cash realization likely came from a previously agreed currency swap with China.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Comments are closed.