President Maithripala Sirisena returned to the island this morning after completing a successful four-day State visit to China. President Maithripala, who arrived at the Beijing Airport in China, was received by a team of high-level Chinese officials headed by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Liu Jaincha.
The visit led to the further strengthening of Sri Lanka – China Relations, in areas such as trade, investment, tourism, culture, science and technology, and regional and international affairs, in addition to Sri Lanka – China Free Trade Agreement.
During his visit, President Maithripala met with the President of China Xi Jinping as well as Prime Minister Li Keqiang and senior government officials.
The President attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015, held in Boao, Hainan Province from March 26 to 29 under the theme of Asia’s New Future: Towards a Community of Common Destiny.
Speaking at the occasion, President Maithripala said that this important forum could play a significant role to achieve a collective vision of an Asian community of common destiny.
“Today Asian enterprise is a key driver in global economic development as Asian economies continue to grow; they also become more complex and more integrated with each other and with the rest of the world. The theme of this year’s forum Asia’s New Future:
Towards a Community of Common Destiny is relevant and timely,” he further said.
When President Maithripala Sirisena met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing on Mar.26 to hold bilateral discussions with the Chinese President, he agreed to provide assistance to build a hospital with all the modern facilities to cater to patients with kidney diseases at the request of President Maithripala.
President Maithripala Sirisena appreciated the assistance given by the Government of China and he further said that Sri Lanka would utilize more direct investments by China into the State and private sectors than the past era of the country. Mr. Xi said that China wants to strengthen ties between the two countries and take cooperation to a higher level.
Here, the Chinese President appreciated the good governance policy by the President Maithripala as well as the steps taken by the Government to safeguard the independence of the judiciary within the country.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized that the Government of China will give its fullest support in international fora on issues of alleged human rights issues regarding Sri Lanka.
The two leaders also agreed to work towards the successful conclusion of the proposed China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is under negotiation, and which has the potential of setting in motion a new chapter in bilateral trade and economic relations.
President Maithripala signalled Sri Lanka’s interest to see genuine progress on the FTA, while recognizing the asymmetries between the two economies, towards achieving a more balanced and sustainable bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The two sides agreed to convene the third round of negotiations on the FTA in the near future.
Following the bilateral discussions between the two leaders Sri Lanka and China signed agreements on a wide range of cooperation that cover health, education, social and economic development.
While commending the process undertaken by the new government in Sri Lanka, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang reiterated his and his government’s fullest cooperation towards it.
The Chinese Premier said his government’s decisions did not depend on individuals, but on correct policies that are important national economies.
Prime Minister Keqiang made these comments during a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena on Mar.26.
President Maithripala said it is the hope of the Sri Lankan government to see the age-old bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China to further strengthen.
The assistance extended to Sri Lanka from China to defeat terrorism is enormous and it made the relations between the two countries a friendlier and an honourable one.
The President also met the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven on the sideline of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015.
Prime Minister Löfven congratulated President Maithripala on his presidential election victory and said that he and the Swedish government are pleased to see the positive development in post-election Sri Lanka.
President Maithripala explained new development initiatives undertaken by the new government in Sri Lanka.
During the visit, President Maithripala also met with Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China.
This was President Maithripala’s first visit to China as President undertaken within three months of his election.