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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

World

China aggressively courts Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, May 22, 2014
First Published: 20:42 IST(22/5/2014)
Last Updated: 20:46 IST(22/5/2014)

President Xi Jinping met his counterparts from Pakistan, President Mamnoon Hissain and Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday, extending China’s unfettered help in strengthening strategic partnerships with Islamabad and Colombo and assuring them that Beijing will be beside both with all its financial and diplomatic might.

Xi told both Hussain and Rajapaksa what they wanted to hear at the end of the security summit held in Shanghai. “China backs Pakistan in practicing a counter-terrorism strategy based on its national conditions and is willing to enhance bilateral security cooperation to safeguard the peace and stability of the two countries and the region,” Xi told Hussain.

And on a day, Xinjiang was rocked by a market place explosion killing and injuring several dozens, Hussain said that the “East Turkistan” terrorism forces are a common enemy of Pakistan and China and vowed to make joint efforts with China to combat the terrorists. Beside the bilateral talk about promoting the China-

Pakistan economic corridor, Beijing also promised Islamabad to build the orange line of the Lahore metro system; a framework agreement was signed about the Lahore metro. Rajapaksa, besieged by western powers to allow an international enquiry into the human rights abuses during the end of the government-Tamil Tiger civil war in 2009, got his share of reassurance from Xi.

“Calling Sri Lanka a reliable friend and important cooperation partner in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, Xi said China supports the country's efforts to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposes any interference in Sri Lanka's internal affairs under the excuse of human rights,” the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He added that Sri Lanka is an important partner in building the 21st century maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. “Xi urged both countries to jointly work toward achievements in the maritime economy, port construction and maritime security,” the report said. Rajapaksa replied that his country hopes to actively participate in the maritime Silk Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank projects.


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