BEIJING, May 16 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for more efforts to advance the strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Sri Lanka.
Xi made the remarks when meeting with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14-15 in Beijing.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Sri Lanka and the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact between the two countries.
China highly values relations with Sri Lanka, and supports the efforts made by Sri Lanka to safeguard national unity, peace and national reconciliation, and promote economic development, Xi said.
China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to move forward the friendship between the two countries and lift their strategic partnership of cooperation to a higher level, Xi said.
The Chinese president urged the two countries to strengthen top-level design and policy communication for the development of bilateral ties, and coordinate positions on global issues of common interests.
The two sides should also promote infrastructure construction, maritime and aviation cooperation to realize infrastructure connectivity, Xi said.
The two countries should work to promote a balanced and sustainable development of bilateral trade, accelerate investment, and realize trade and financial connectivity through a free trade agreement, he said.
China and Sri Lanka should take the celebration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to build people-to-people bonds in youth, think tanks, colleges and universities, media, religion, tourism and local affairs, Xi said.
For his part, Wickremesinghe congratulated China for the successful Belt and Road forum, which had gathered many countries and international financial institutions, and achieved fruitful results.
Sri Lanka is committed to consolidating the traditional friendship with China and deepening bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas, Wickremesinghe said.
The Sri Lankan prime minister said his country welcomes China's increased participation in Sri Lanka's industrialization process, and infrastructure construction in particular.
Sri Lanka is ready to work with China on the Hambantota Port and Colombo Port City projects, Wickremesinghe said.
The prime minister also vowed to make the best use of his country's advantageous location to make contributions to the Belt and Road construction.