China has sought assurances from Sri Lanka on the continuity of Chinese infrastructure projects in the island, including the ambitious USD 1.4 billion Colombo Port City.
Visiting Chinese vice foreign minister and special envoy Liu Zhenmin met President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the capital to discuss the matter, officials said.
The new Sri Lankan government, which replaced the regime of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, was seen as unfavourable towards the Chinese projects, especially the port city development which was a pet project of Rajapaksa.
The USD 1.4 billion Colombo Port City is considered as the single largest private sector development ever in Sri Lanka. The project is expected to play a key role in China’s ambitious ‘Maritime Silk Road’ project in India’s backyard.
Liu wrapped up his three-day visit on Friday.
The Chinese special envoy also met with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and discussed wide-ranging matters of mutual interest including political, economic, development cooperation and people-to-people contacts.
Liu conveyed greetings of the Chinese government to the unity government in Sri Lanka and pledged China’s support and cooperation for further strengthening the friendly relations between the two countries.
While appreciating the support extended by China to Sri Lanka both bilaterally and multilaterally, Samaraweera referred to the friendship and cooperation between Sri Lanka and China and reiterated his government’s efforts to bring the relations to a further higher level.
Liu was accompanied by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka.