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Thursday April 18th, 2024

Sri Lankan medical students waiting to return to China to be prioritised: Wang Yi

ECONOMYNEXT – China Foreign Minister Wang Yi has promised to facilitate Sri Lankan medical students return to China and continue their degree, Sri Lanka’s Department of Government Information (DGI) said.

Approximately 1,200 medical students, including 400 final-year students, who were studying at Chinese medical institutes are waiting to return to China to complete their studies after coming back to Sri Lanka after last year’s COVID-19 outbreak. They have been unable to return to China due to restrictions imposed by Beijing as a result of the pandemic.

In a statement the DGI said, Yi has instructed the Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka to work closely with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate the return of the students with immediate effect following a meeting held with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday (09).

Yi is on a two-day official visit to Colombo to sign a number of grants as Sri Lanka and China celebrate the 95th anniversary of their bilateral relations.

According to Foreign Ministry sources, some countries such as Hong Kong (SAR of the PRC), Macau (SAR of PRC), Turkey, UAE (Dubai Emirate), Qatar, Bulgaria, Finland, Malta, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Czech Republic have categorized Sri Lanka under high risk countries and some have restricted tourists from coming.

Even though being vaccinated is not a priority for traveling to China, Foreign Ministry sources said the universities where the students were studying have not yet granted permission for them to return to continue their education.

However, the statement said, following the discussion the Chinese delegate had given his assurance that Sri Lankan students will be given highest priority.

“I believe it is a common question, not only for Sri Lankan students, but also from many other countries’ students who want to return to universities in China,” Qi Zhenhong, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka told reporters in Colombo after Yi left Colombo.

“I must share with you that the Chinese government has already listed Sri Lanka on the first batch of the country when we open and overseas students going to return.”

“But we must take into consideration that COVID-19 is still spreading. The Beijing Winter Olympics is also set to open in a few weeks. So we work step by step.

“I fully understand the difficulties and concerns of the students and their families. But I also hope our friends can understand the difficulties for China. Both sides should communicate on the issue and should work together on it for a better future,” he said.

Other matters discussed at the meeting, according to the DGI were further support for the vaccine program, attracting investments to the Port City and the Hambantota Industrial Zone, increasing tourism from China to Sri Lanka, increasing Sri Lankan exports to China and enhancing cultural cooperation especially in the area of Buddhist ties. (Colombo/Jan10/2021)

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Sri Lanka’s discussions with bondholders constructive: State finance minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, State Minister of Finance, Shehan Semasinghe has said.

“It is standard practice, when a representative group of bondholders is formed, to entertain confidential discussions with such group and its appointed advisors. In the case of Sri Lanka, the Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders represents holders controlling more than 50% of the bonds, which make them a privileged interlocutor for Sri Lanka,” Semasinghe said on X (twitter).

“It is well understood that given the price sensitive nature of the negotiations, and according to market regulations, discussions with the Group and its advisors are to be conducted under non-disclosure agreements. This evidently restricts the ability of the Government to unilaterally report about the substance of the discussions.

“The cleansing statement, which was issued on the 16th of April, at the conclusion of this first round of confidential discussions with members of the Group, aims at informing the Sri Lankan people, market participants and other stakeholders to this debt restructuring exercise, about the progress in negotiations. It provides the highest possible level of transparency within the internationally accepted practices in such circumstances.

“As informed in this statement, confidential discussions held in recent weeks with bondholders’ representatives proved constructive, building on the restructuring proposals presented by both parties. During the talks both sides successfully bridged a number of technical issues enabling important progress to be made. Sri Lanka articulated key remaining concerns that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner.

“The next steps would entail further consultation with the IMF staff regarding assessments of the compatibility of the latest proposals with program parameters. Following these consultations, we hope to continue discussions with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.”

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Sri Lanka rupee weakens at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 301.00/302.05 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Tuesday, from 299.00/10 on Tuesday, dealers said. Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed stable at 11.30/35 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent up from 11.95/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed at 12.10/20 percent down from 12.10/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.03.2031 closed at 12.30/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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Sri Lanka Treasury Bill yields down across maturities

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Treasuries yields were down across maturities at Wednesday’s auction with the 3-month yield moving down 7 basis points to 10.03 percent, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold all 30 billion rupees of 3-month bills offered.

The 6-month yield fell 5 basis points to 10.22 percent, with 25 billion rupees of bills offered and 29.98 billion rupees sold.

The 12-month yield dropped 4 basis points to 10.23 percent with 18.01 billion rupees of bills sold after offering 23 billion rupees. (Colombo/Apr17/2024)

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