Lankan President Sirisena to visit China in March: Chinese official
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be visiting China in the end of March, a top Chinese official said Monday. Assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, said Sirisena will be in China on March 26, his visit coinciding with BOAO Economic forum which he will also attend.Updated: Feb 16, 2015 20:02 IST
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will be visiting China in the end of March, a top Chinese official said Monday.
Assistant foreign minister, Liu Jianchao, said Sirisena will be in China on March 26, his visit coinciding with BOAO Economic forum which he will also attend.
Sirisena is currently in India for a four-day visit, his first since taking over as President of the island nation.
Speaking to reporters during a foreign ministry reception on Monday evening, Liu – who was in Sri Lanka earlier this month as President Xi Jinping’s special envoy – said economic cooperation between Beijing and Colombo were on track and during Sirisena’s visit a number of bilateral issues will be on the agenda.
Liu said he was assured during his recent visit that all China-funded projects in the island nation were on.
China will be closely monitoring the visit of Sirisena’s ongoing visit to New Delhi. Sirisena is visiting India amid speculation that Colombo is recalibrating its foreign policy, which was focused on China during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime.
The talk of a civil nuclear deal between India and Sri Lanka will especially be monitored by Beijing, which has emerged as the island country’s largest donor since the end of the civil war in 2009.
Beijing on Monday did not comment on Sirisena’s New Delhi visit. But it would be keenly waiting for Lankan foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera’s visit to Beijing later this month, probably on February 27.
His visit will be a preparatory on for Sirisena’s subsequent visit.
China has dispatched senior officials to Colombo soon after Sirisena won an unexpected victory against Rajapaksa.
Both Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week met Wang Jiarui, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Colombo.
Sirisena said Sri Lanka appreciates the assistance that “China had offered over the past and the country will continue to strengthen friendly cooperation with China in various sectors.”
Samaraweera, himself had hailed hailing China as an "all-weather friend" when meeting assistant foreign minister, Liu earlier this month.
"We welcome China to invest in and offer assistance to Sri Lanka," he said.
First Published: Feb 16, 2015 19:57 IST