|China's Support Indispensable for Sri Lanka's National Development: President Sirisena|
On May 11th, H.E. Cheng Xueyuan, Ambassador of China called upon H.E. President Maithripala Sirisena at the President's Official Residence to exchange views on China-Sri Lanka relations and joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.
President Sirisena stressed that the friendship between the two countries dates back to ancient times. The tremendous assistance provided by China to the economic and social development of this island nation is highly appreciated by the Sri Lankan government and its people. Further more, China's continuos support is indispensable for Sri Lanka to realize its future development and make itself a new economic centre of the Indian Ocean Region.
The President highlighted that Sri Lanka strongly supports the Belt and Road Initiative, and attaches great importance to the joint mega-projects of Colombo Port City as well as the Hambantota Port and Industrial Park. Instructions have been given to concerned government departments by the President's Office to accelerate the resolution of specific issues and make solid progress in the projects.
President Sirisena expressed his objective to attract more investment and assistance from China for Sri Lanka's economic development as well as its people's livelihood. The President looks forward to the early groundbreaking of the National Nephropathy Specialist Hospital assisted by the Chinese side to relief the pain of local patients.
Responding to the baseless suspicion on so-called Chinese militarization at Hambantota Port raised by some foreign media recently, the President emphasized that China as a sincere friend always reaches out with a helping hand when Sri Lanka facing difficulties. The handing over of Hambantota Port after its long-term unsuccessful operation is another fresh example. The two countries' friendly cooperation in Hambantota Port is focusing on economic development without any other hidden agenda.
Talking about the 71st World Health Assembly to be held in Geneva at the end of this month, the President reiterated Sri Lanka's unswerving support to the One China policy and China's position concerning the Taiwan issue on global arenas including the WHA.
Ambassador Cheng stressed that China attaches great importance to its friendly relations with Sri Lanka and is willing to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries. Based on the golden principles of “Consultation, Contribution and Shared Benefits”, China will actively promote Sino-SL pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative to benefit the two countries and peoples. It is believed that under the joint efforts of both sides, especially under the personal guidance of President Sirisena, mega-projects of the Colombo Port City and Hambantota Comprehensive Development Project would rapidly develope so as to help the island country realize its development dream.
Ambassador Cheng opposed any ungrounded speculation on military purpose of the joint projects, warned of the danger that certain external forces are trying to attack the joint operation of the two sides in Hambantota as well as the friendly bilateral relations. China is willing to support Sri Lanka in developing its economy and improving its people’s livelihood. The Ambassador highlighted that the preliminary work of the National Nephropathy Specialist Hospital donated by China to Sri Lanka people has almost been completed and the construction will be started soon. It is expected to be inaugurated within two years, which will definitely bring great happiness to patients with kidney disease.
On behalf of the Chinese side, Ambassador Cheng thanked the Sri Lankan side for its firm support to China on Taiwan, Xizang (Tibet) and other issues concerning its core interests. China also resolutely supports Sri Lanka's national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and never interferes in the latter's internal affairs. China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to promote its economic and social development in the spirit of mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, so as to build a China-Sri Lanka Community of Shared Future.