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Mangala cements ‘all weather relations’ with China

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Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera concluded a successful two-day official visit to China yesterday, during which he paid a courtesy call on the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and also held extensive bilateral discussions with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Meanwhile, he also met with the Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Wang Jiarui and the Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng.

A media release by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing said that both sides reiterated the importance of the bilateral relationship between China and Sri Lanka during these meetings. Chinese media reports said that Samaraweera had reiterated Sri Lanka's support to the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative introduced by China.

Meanwhile, Indian media reports said that China had proposed a three way alliance between Sri Lanka, China and India in regional matters. China had invested on several mega projects in Sri Lanka during President Mahinda Rajapaksa's tenure. Some quarters in India were reportedly apprehensive of the Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka. However, after the defeat of Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election on January 8, the future of some of the projects was in doubt.

Samaraweera stated that both countries have fostered bilateral relations over the years and that both the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka are keen to take forward the relationship to a new level of excellence.

During bilateral talks, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi underscored the nature of the relationship between China and Sri Lanka as an “all weather friendship” and reiterated that China will continue to promote strong relations with Sri Lanka, the release further said.

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