|Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Meets with Wang Yi|
On January 9, 2022 local time, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Colombo.
Mahinda once again expressed his congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He said that Sri Lanka and China enjoy a long-standing friendship. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact, which is of great importance to the development of bilateral relations. China is a great friend to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka attaches great importance to developing a robust relationship with China. Sri Lanka appreciates China never interfering in its domestic affairs and thanks China for its long-term and enormous support for the country's economic and social development. China always lends a helping hand when Sri Lanka is in urgent need of assistance to help it tide over difficulties and keep moving forward. Sri Lanka thanks China for offering a large amount of COVID-19 vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies. It looks forward to deepening bilateral relations with China, consolidating practical cooperation, and jointly addressing challenges.
Wang Yi first conveyed the greetings of Chinese leaders to Mahinda. He said that you are an old friend to the Chinese people. You paid six visits to China when serving as Sri Lankan President and led cabinet members to pray for the Chinese people after the pandemic outbreak. We hold this special friendship dear and this story will be enshrined in the history of China-Sri Lanka relations. Last year, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued commemorative coins to mark the CPC's 100th anniversary, and its 12 political parties held a celebration conference. It fully reflects the high-level political trust between the two countries and that China-Sri Lanka friendly relations in all aspects have become the consensus of Sri Lanka's ruling and opposition parties.
Wang Yi said that this year marks a significant historical transition of China-Sri Lanka relations. The two countries signed the Rubber-Rice Pact on the basis of equal negotiations 70 years ago. It resumed the exchanges between the two countries that had just gained national independence and liberation, showcased our national spirit in the fight against hegemony and power politics, broke the Cold War isolation imposed by the West based on ideology, and created the spirit of independence, self-reliance, unity and mutual support embodied in the Rubber-Rice Pact. The friendly relationship between China and Sri Lanka benefits the development of both countries and serves the fundamental interest of the two peoples. It does not target any third party and should not be interfered with by any third party. The all-round cooperation and strategic mutual trust between the two countries have injected positive energy into regional peace and stability.
Wang Yi said that China-Sri Lanka relations now stand at a new starting point and embrace new development opportunities. China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to draw on wisdom from our previous exchanges, gain strength from the spirit of the Rubber-Rice Pact, carry forward the spirit of unity and collaboration, and fully expand mutually beneficial cooperation, to advance our strategic cooperative partnership of sincere mutual assistance and long-lasting friendship to a new level. China is willing to make the celebrations of the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties of the establishment of China and Sri Lanka and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact a success together with Sri Lanka and promote central and local governmental exchanges between the two countries and the communication in think tank, youth, media, tourism, religion and other fields to deepen our friendship.
Wang Yi said that China always considers Sri Lanka a priority in international vaccine cooperation and will continue to provide full support to Sri Lanka according to its needs to help it secure an early victory against COVID-19. China will continue to assist Sri Lanka in overcoming temporary difficulties within our capacity. We are convinced that Sri Lanka's economy will walk out of the current predicament and achieve new and greater progress.
Wang Yi said that Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port are the flagship projects of bilateral cooperation in building the Marine Silk Road, and two engines of Sri Lanka's economic development. China supports Chinese enterprises in investing and developing in Sri Lanka and combining Chinese capital and experience with Sri Lanka's human resources advantages to help Sri Lanka improve the ability of self-development, accelerate industrialization, and build the brand of "Made in Sri Lanka".
After the meeting, the two sides attended the signing ceremony of the bilateral cooperation document together.