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Li Keqiang Holds Talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka

Li Keqiang Holds Talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, Emphasizing on Consolidating Traditional Friendship, Expanding Practical Cooperation, and Promoting China-Sri Lanka Strategic Cooperative Partnership to a New Level

On the afternoon of April 7, 2016, Premier Li Keqiang held talks at the Great Hall of the People with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, who was in China for an official visit.

Li Keqiang stated that China and Sri Lanka enjoy profound traditional friendship. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations nearly 60 years ago, China-Sri Lanka relations have experienced many vicissitudes home and abroad, but always maintained the general direction of friendly cooperation and progress, which is in line with our common interests and also the result of joint efforts of both peoples from all walks of life. China is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with Sri Lanka, deepen political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, closely coordinate and collaborate in regional and international affairs, so as to promote China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership to a new level.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the continuous advancement of China-Sri Lanka cooperation in major fields has brought lots of tangible benefits to the two peoples. We welcome the resumption of the Colombo port city project and are willing to steadily advance the project construction with Sri Lanka in joint efforts. We hope that the two sides can accelerate the negotiation on the cooperation of the second-phase of the Hambantota Port project, which can make Colombo port city and the Hambantota Port advance together as well as help Sri Lanka give play to its location advantage to become an important international logistic hub. We should promote the negotiations of the China-Sri Lanka free trade agreement (FTA), in an effort to gain results within this year. In line with Sri Lanka’s vision of building an economic development zone, we can actively carry out production capacity cooperation, make full use of China’s advantages in equipment manufacturing, and accelerate the infrastructure construction and industrialization process of Sri Lanka. The Chinese government encourages capable Chinese enterprises to invest in Sri Lanka, and take part in the cooperation of port-neighboring industrial parks, special economic zones, and processing and manufacturing industry. China hopes that Sri Lanka can offer policy support in this regard. We need to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in areas including finance, science and technology, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We will also work with regional nations to build a peaceful and stable environment so as to promote common development and prosperity.

Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed that the friendship between Sri Lanka and China has a long history and all political parties in Sri Lanka unanimously support the development of Sri Lanka-China relations. Facing a new mission of economic and social development, Sri Lanka is willing to learn from China’s development experience, synergize its own development strategies with China’s Belt and Road initiative and co-build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Sri Lanka will promote its industrialization development. It will strengthen cooperation with China in such fields as ports, airports, and industrial zones, and strive to sign the bilateral FTA with China within the year. People-to-people and cultural exchanges should also be expanded so as to make joint efforts to push the Sri Lanka-China strategic cooperative partnership for new results. .

Before the talks, Li Keqiang held a welcome ceremony for Ranil Wickremesinghe at the square outside the East Gate of the Great Hall of the People. Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Zhengwei and others attended the ceremony.

After the talks, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe jointly witnessed the signing of multiple cooperative documents between China and Sri-Lanka in fields including economic and technological cooperation, justice, transportation, finance, medical care, and health.

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