|Navy Commander S. Ranasinghe Fully Supports the Belt and Road Cooperation Between China and Sri Lanka|
On April 20, H.E. Cheng Xueyuan, Ambassador of China met Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe, the Commander of Sri Lanka Navy at the Navy Headquarter. Both sides exchanged views in depth on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the construction of Hambantota Port.
Ambassador Cheng expressed that the China-Sri Lanka friendship dates back to ancient times and the exchanges between the two countries and two militaries are always friendly and frequent. BRI is highly compatible with the development strategy of Sri Lanka. China is willing to work together with Sri Lanka to implement the important consensus of the leaders of the two countries and actively push forward the practical cooperation under BRI framework. Currently, we are going to reap the early harvest of joint-construction of BRI, which has brought tangible benefits to both peoples. The Colombo Port City is proceeding smoothly, the Hambantota Port and Industrial Park are coherently interconnected and currently the joint development also goes on smoothly. Both projects are expected to be the new engines of economic development of the Island nation. There are some baseless foreign speculations that the Hambantota Port might be used for military purpose, China and Sri Lanka should keep vigilant against such kind of rumours, and strengthen communication and coordination so as to prevent the China-Sri Lankan relations and cooperation from being disturbed or damaged.
Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe agreed Amb. Cheng’s positive comments on the bilateral relations and highlighted that BRI proposed by President Xi Jinping shows great foresight and provides an important opportunity for Sri Lanka’s participation in regional development. Our cooperation in the fields of infrastructure construction and personnel training has laid an important foundation for the future self-development of Sri Lanka.
When responding to recent foreign speculation on Hambantota's so-called military use, the Commander reiterated that from the first day the operation of Hambantota Port was handed over to the China-Sri Lanka joint venture, the sole commercial use of the port has been clearly defined through legal forms. Recently, a warship of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force smoothly berthed for supplies at the Hambantota Port, reflecting the openness and commercial nature of the port. It is believed that these unfounded suspicions and rumours will collapse of themselves as more and more vessels including warships from various countries berth for supplies at the Hambantota Port.