Samaraweera to visit China to discuss arms purchase | india | Hindustan Times
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Samaraweera to visit China to discuss arms purchase

india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 11:33 IST
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Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister will visit China next week to discuss a possible weapons purchase amid a threat of a full-scale war with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, a news report said on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will leave for Beijing on Wednesday to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, The Island newspaper said.

China has in the past been a major weapons supplier to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

The Island newspaper had earlier reported that Sri Lanka was considering purchasing Chinese-made 30 mm guns to help its navy quell attacks by the Tamil Tigers' explosives-laden boats.

The rebels, who want to carve out a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's 3.2 million ethnic Tamils, often attack Sri Lankan navy positions, saying they will not tolerate intrusion into what they call their territorial waters.

The rebels control one-seventh of Sri Lanka's land mass in the northeast and say they have the right to use the adjoining sea.

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