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China, Lanka vow to deepen ties

world Updated: Aug 11, 2011 19:08 IST

PTI
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China and Sri Lanka today pledged to enhance their "ever deepening relationship and cooperation" as it had brought substantial benefits to "regional peace and development".

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who arrived in China on Tuesday on a four-day tour, today met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during which the two leaders "pledged to enhance the two countries' cooperation", Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Welcoming Rajapaksa, Wen said the ever deepening friendship and cooperation between the two countries have promoted regional peace and development.

China, which has stepped up military and development assistance to Sri Lanka in recent years, is also constructing the strategic port at Hambanthota in southern part of the country.

China, which is one of the largest bilateral donor to Sri Lanka, in June committed $1.5 billion for its post-war reconstruction plan.

It also extended strong backing to Rajapaksa government in staving off international criticism over human rights violations by Lankan troops in the last stages of war against LTTE.

China's liberal aid and assistance was seen by analysts as an attempt to expand its influence in South Asia to counter India's influence in the region.

Wen told Rajapaksa on Thursday that China is ready to help Sri Lanka's economic development, promote communication between the two countries with regard to infrastructure construction, enlarge two-way trade and investment, and strengthen cultural and personnel exchanges.