|Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yi Xianliang At the Reception Celebrating the 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China|
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yi Xianliang At the Reception Celebrating the 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China
(26 September 2017, BMICH)
Hon. Minister Rajitha Senaratne,
Hon. Ministers, Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are pleased to have all of you gathered here to celebrate the 68th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
68 years ago, the Chinese people, having fought tenaciously for more than one century, finally won the great victory of independence and became the masters of their own land. Since then, the Chinese people marched toward the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation and realized extraordinary achievement. Now, China is the second largest economy in the world with the largest trade volume and foreign exchange reserves. It is also the largest trading partner with more than 130 countries and regions. Last year, China's GDP surpassed US$ 11 trillion, the GDP per capita has risen from less than US$ 100 in the early days of founding to nearly US$ 9000 today. In the first half of this year, China's economy maintained steady growth and increased by 6.9%. China's steady economic development has benefited the world, contributing about 30% to global growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 65th Anniversary of the signing of the Rubber & Rice Pact between China and Sri Lanka. The two sides have jointly held a series of celebrations to promote the deep-rooted relations to a new height. Our political exchanges have kept momentum. In April, H.E. Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, paid a successful visit to Sri Lanka. Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, visited Beijing and attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May. Visits at different levels inluding parliamentarians, political parties and local governments are also frequent.
China-Sri Lanka economic and investment cooperation have been deepened. we witnessed the take-off of Hambantota Port and Sri Lanka-China Logistics and Industrial Zone this year, marking a significant milestone in bilateral economic relations, which would also provide strong steering strength for Sri Lanka's development. Both sides are keen to wrap up free trade agreement at an early stage to boost bilateral trade and investment cooperation which currently China ranks No. 2 and No. 1 respectively to Sri lanka.
China and Sri Lanka are friends in deed and in need, and support each other through difficult times. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China's total assistance to Sri Lanka has amounted to over Rs.220 billion. In recent years, China has become the largest assistance provider to Sri Lanka. From 2014 to 2017, China offered Rs.33 billion as aid given gratis, and from 2018 to 2020 the aid will be Rs.47 billion. The Chinese aid projects such as BMICH where we stand today serve Sri Lanka society and public well. In disaster relief area this year, the Chinese government provided to Sri Lanka around Rs. 800 million emergency humanitarian aid of relief supplies. The Chinese international rescue team, Red Cross and local Chinese companies also joined the disaster relief efforts.
The Chinese assistance and donation will be more and more allocated to serve the public. This year in health area, China started the construction of the Out Patient Building of National Hospital and the Kidney Disease Hospital with a total worth of Rs. 23 billion.
With various cultural celebration activities carried out this year, people to people exchanges between China and Sri lanka developed steadily. In February, National Symphony Orchestra of both countries jointly performed at BMICH. China has been Sri Lanka’s second-largest tourism source market since 2014. This year up to August, around 190 thousand Chinese tourists experienced the charm and beauty of Sri Lanka. China has granted 2027 scholarship and traineeship to Sri Lanka in the first nine months of this year. Chinese Peace Ark hospital ship visited Colombo and provided free medical service to locals. Frequent exchanges between Buddhist groups, media, artists and think-tanks of our two countries are reinforcing our friendship and mutual understanding.
Looking ahead, China will continue its policy towards Sri Lanka that is respecting the decision by Sri Lanka Government and people and seek win-win development with Sri Lanka. China will maximize the synergy of each other’s respective development strategies under the framework of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to achieve mutual benefits and common development. As a pearl of Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has a sound basis for development, we hope all other countries could avoid interference into Sri Lanka's internal affairs and never seek geopolitical competition in this beautiful Island, and work together with Sri Lanka to promote win-win development. We also look forward to work with Sri Lankan friends to strive for a more brilliant future of our bilateral relations as well as the well-being of our two peoples.
In conclusion, please join me in a toast:
To the health of H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Maitripala Sirisena,
To the peace and prosperity of Sri Lanka,
To the happiness of Sri Lankan people,
And to the everlasting friendship between China and Sri Lanka.