Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Beijing, capital of China, May 16, 2017. Wickremesinghe attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14-15 in Beijing. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
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.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also met with Wickremesinghe Tuesday.
Li said the two countries should deepen cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure building and production capacity.
China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to steadily push forward the construction of Colombo Port City, Hambantota Port, and logistics and industrial parks in accordance with market and business principles, said Li.
The Chinese premier urged Sri Lanka to create a good legal, media, policy and security environment for implementing the projects.
Wickremesinghe said his country is ready to closely coordinate with China to create a favorable environment for Chinese companies to invest in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka will also speed up the construction of those key projects, and strengthen production capacity cooperation with China to facilitate Sri Lanka's industrialization and regional connectivity, Wickremesinghe said.