China – Sri Lanka Relations an All Weather Partnership – Vice President of China
External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris, as Special Envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, called on Vice-President Li Yuanchao of the People’s Republic of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday.
Vice-President Li Yuanchao of the People’s Republic of China during his discussions with the Minister of External Affairs, Professor G L Peiris on Tuesday in Beijing, expressing unequivocal support towards safeguarding Sri Lanka’s self respect, sovereignty and territorial integrity, stated that “China – Sri Lanka bilateral relations is a time honoured Friendship under whatever circumstances”. Upholding the view that human rights should be dealt with based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, both the Vice-President and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China articulated in clear terms the attitude of the People’s Republic of China on matters pertaining to human rights in Sri Lanka and expressed full confidence in Sri Lanka’s ability to chart an appropriate course for its people and strongly condemned the use of human rights as a device to interfere in the domestic affairs of a country.
Professor Peiris, currently on a three day official visit to China at the invitation of his counterpart, had productive and in – depth discussions with the Chinese dignitaries in providing substance to the elevated status of “strategic co-operative partnership” between Sri Lanka and China.
Vice-President Li Yuanchao made reference to the salient features of the “Mahinda Chinthana” and expressed confidence that the approach reflected in this thinking would provide a strong base for fulfilling the aspirations of the Sri Lankan people. He assured Minister Peiris of China’s resolute support in this regard.
Reflecting on the special and warm relations the two countries share, the Vice-President identified Sri Lanka to be an important component of the Maritime Silk Route and invited the country to play an important role in this initiative. Professor Peiris welcomed this proposal as a means of strengthening co-operation in respect of maritime matters among the countries of the region. This initiative was discussed in parallel to building an Asian community in sustaining the growth momentum and drawing on the synergies of Asian economic development.
Improving bilateral trade and tourism were also discussed as important modules in achieving the full potential of the strategic co-operative partnership. China agreed to fast track negotiations to conclude the Free Trade Agreement in promoting mutually beneficial trade. Noting the extensive increase in Chinese out-bound tourists, Vice-President Li supported broadening the scope for Sri Lanka to explore tourism promotion opportunities in China as a further means of strengthening people to people interactions. China endorsed Sri Lanka’s proposal to constitute a Joint Commission mechanism between the two countries at the level of Foreign Ministers in enabling periodic review of the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.