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Gotabaya and Xi talk over the phone: agreement to restart development work

ECONOMYNEXT – Chinese President Xi Jinping is suggesting that China and Sri Lanka, gradually resume practical cooperation in various fields, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua has reported.

The agency said that Xi and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had a telephone conversation on Wednesday,  May 13 evening where the Chinese leader said the two countries should advance major cooperation projects in an orderly manner and promote the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road.

These matters should be addressed while ensuring COVID-19 prevention and control the report said.

China and Sri Lanka are strategic cooperation partners that enjoy sincere mutual help and an everlasting friendship, said Xi, adding that their friendly ties and mutual trust have withstood various tests and been uplifted once again in the joint fight against the pandemic.

For his part, President Rajapaksa said that under Xi’s strong leadership, China’s fight against COVID-19 has made remarkable achievements, and the Chinese people have demonstrated extraordinary wisdom and strength.

Xi recalled that various sections of Sri Lankan society offered China active support at a critical moment in China’s fight against the coronavirus disease, with many moves particularly heart-warming and touching.

He noted that under Rajapaksa’s strong leadership, Sri Lanka has effectively contained the spread of the epidemic, adding that China stands ready to continue to provide firm support and as much assistance as its capacity allows for the South Asian country in line with its needs.

The Chinese president expressed his confidence that the people of Sri Lanka will certainly defeat the epidemic at an early date.

The Sri Lankan president added that he appreciates the vision put forward by Xi of building a community with a shared future for mankind and agrees on supporting the WHO in playing a leading role in global anti-epidemic cooperation.

Sri Lanka is willing to work with China to enhance exchanges and cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, tourism and infrastructure, and smoothly push forward major Belt and Road cooperation projects such as Colombo Port City, he said, adding that his country welcomes more investment from and cooperation with Chinese enterprises.

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The Sri Lanka side, he added, stands ready to work with China to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Xi thanked the Sri Lankan government and people for taking care of Chinese citizens in their country during the pandemic, and said the Chinese side will continue to ensure the safety and health of Sri Lankan citizens on its soil.

China, he added, is willing to work with Sri Lanka and the broader international community to continue to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in playing a leading role, promote global cooperation on joint COVID-19 prevention and control. (Colombo May 14, 2020)

Noting that Sri Lanka and China enjoy a long-running friendship with cooperation in various fields advancing smoothly, he said China has over the years provided tremendous valuable support and help for his country’s economic and social development, for which the Sri Lankans are deeply grateful. (Colombo, May 14, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana