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Lanka & China agree to deepen their Cooperative Partnership

| The following statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Colombo, Sri Lanka

( September 16, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka and China have agreed to deepen their Strategic Cooperative Partnership, following official talks between the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping and President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo today (16th September 2014).

President Xi Jinping, accompanied by First Lady, Madam Peng Liyuan and a high level official delegation arrived today in Sri Lanka on a two day State visit, at the invitation of President Rajapaksa. On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, President Xi and Madam Peng were warmly received by President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Later in the day, the Chinese dignitaries were accorded a colourful and elaborate ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Secretariat, prior to the commencement of official talks between the delegations, led by the two Presidents.

At the end of the official talks between the Sri Lankan and Chinese delegations, a Plan of Action to deepen the Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries was signed by the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Prof. G.L. Peiris and the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi. The two sides agreed to further enrich and deepen this partnership in the spirit of equality, mutual respect and support, and common aspirations for development of the two countries for the benefit of the peoples. It may be recalled that both countries agreed to elevate their bilateral relationship to a ‘Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ during President Rajapaksa’s State visit to China in May 2013.
A number of Agreements covering bilateral economic cooperation, trade and commerce, power and energy, agriculture, education and culture were also signed today, which would further strengthen the robust relations between the two countries.

Following the signing ceremony, a Plaque of the Chinese Cultural Centre was unveiled and the two sides exchanged lists of ancient books from Sri Lanka and China.

16th September 2014

1. At the invitation of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, is on a state visit to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka from 16th to 17th September, 2014.

2. During the visit, President Xi Jinping held bilateral talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and will also meet with Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne and Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, respectively. The two sides signed a number of agreements in the areas of economy, science and technology and cultural exchanges, etc.

3. The two heads of state acknowledged and reviewed with great satisfaction the bilateral relations since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1957, and agreed that the Strategic Cooperative Partnership of Sincere Mutual Assistance and Ever-lasting Friendship has become an integral part of the foreign polices of both countries. The friendly cooperation between China and Sri Lanka has made positive contribution to the development and advancement of the two countries, the well-being of their peoples and towards the common prosperity of Asia.

4. The two sides agreed that China and Sri Lanka have much in common in terms of the traditional values, development aspirations and strategic interests, which are a source of strength for the continued growth of the traditional friendship between the two countries and the driving force which contributes to further strengthening of bilateral relations in the new era. The two sides will further enrich and deepen the China-Sri Lanka Strategic Cooperative Partnership in the spirit of equality, mutual respect and support, and common aspirations for development of the two countries for the benefit of the peoples.

5. The two sides reaffirmed their mutual support on issues of common interest and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, stability and development of their countries. China supports Sri Lanka’s efforts in maintaining national unity, peace and reconciliation, and promoting economic development. Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China policy, and support for the efforts by the Chinese Government to realize national reunification.

6. The two sides reiterated their adherence to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, firmly support the development path independently chosen by each other, abide by the basic norm of international law of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries, oppose the unilateral acts of any country or organization in the attempt to impinge on the independence, political and social stability of both countries and advocate the peaceful solution of disputes and differences between countries.

In order to further deepen the China-Sri Lanka Strategic Cooperative Partnership, the two sides agreed on the following action plan:

7. The two sides agreed to enhance high-level exchanges, and maintain frequent contacts between the leaders through bilateral visits and meetings on the sidelines of multilateral fora, which will contribute to the further strengthening of bilateral ties. Both sides agreed to encourage exchanges and cooperation between the governments, legislative bodies, political parties, the military and law-enforcement authorities to deepen sharing of governance experience.

8. The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the joint feasibility study on the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. The two sides announced the launch of the negotiations on the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement and expressed their commitment to ensure the early implementation. The two sides agreed that the FTA negotiations will be concluded at the earliest and agreed to work towards a more balanced and sustainable development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

9. The two sides welcomed the swap arrangement between the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the People’s Bank of China to promote financial cooperation between the two countries. The two sides agreed to further promote the use of their domestic currencies in bilateral trade and investment, and enhance the cooperation in customs and quarantine procedures, and quality inspection to facilitate trade.

10. The two sides agreed to further enhance cooperation in the fields of investment, joint ventures, bilateral trade, tourism, development projects and capacity building. The Chinese Government will continue to encourage competitive Chinese companies to invest and cooperate in technology-based next generation manufacturing activities in Sri Lanka to achieve mutual benefits. Sri Lanka will continue to provide necessary assistance and institutional support.

11. Sri Lanka appreciated the assistance provided by the Chinese Government in the country’s socio-economic development. The Chinese Government undertook to continue its assistance to Sri Lanka. The Chinese Government encourages its financial institutions to cooperate with the concerned parties in Sri Lanka based on the principle of compliance with laws and regulations. With this background, Sri Lanka requests long-term financial assistance in development projects including Ruwanpura Expressway, Northern Expressway, Gin-Nilwala River diversion, Kelani River Basin, Thalpitigala Reservoir, rehabilitation of national airports, expansion and modernization of Petroleum Refinery and related infrastructure including pipelines, water supply and wastewater management, in order to support the further development of Sri Lanka. The Chinese Government assures financing support for infrastructure and development projects agreed upon by both sides in Sri Lanka on preferential terms.

12. Sri Lanka welcomes and supports the proposal put forward by China to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and will actively participate and cooperate in this initiative. The two sides agreed to further promote investment in the Magampura/ Hambantota Port Project. The two sides agreed to enhance maritime cooperation and proceed with the construction of the Colombo Port City Project. The two sides signed the agreement on the operation of Magampura/Hambantota Port Development Project (Phase II), and announced the establishment of a Joint Committee on Coastal and Marine Cooperation to explore the feasibility of areas for cooperation which would include ocean observation, ecosystem protection, marine and coastal zone management, search for wreckage of Zheng He’s fleets off the Coast of Sri Lanka, maritime security, combating piracy, search and rescue, and navigation security.

13. The two sides agreed to strengthen defence cooperation, and to maintain the momentum of visits between the two defence authorities and military forces at all levels, intensify the cooperation in military training, training of personnel and to cooperate in the areas of defence-related science and technology, exchange of military academics, and provide logistic support. The two sides reaffirmed that terrorism, separatism, extremism pose a serious threat to stability and security of the region and reaffirmed their readiness to work together to combat these three forces within bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

14. The Government of Sri Lanka appreciated the grant aid provided by the Chinese Government for upgrading of the Colombo National Hospital to enhance health care facilities for outpatients. The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in upgrading health services in Sri Lanka, including the provision of medical equipment.

15. The two sides agreed to build on the potential in the area of tourism cooperation. The two sides agreed to encourage and support the tourism industries of the two countries to strengthen exchanges and cooperation for mutual benefit. Both sides were pleased to see the release of the documentary The Glamorous Sri Lanka and believed that this would help attract more Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka. China will continue to encourage its nationals to travel to Sri Lanka, assist Sri Lanka in its effort to increase its share in the Chinese tourism market, and encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in the Sri Lanka tourism industry.

16. The Government of Sri Lanka requested the Chinese Government to provide assistance to develop the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector in Sri Lanka. The SME-related authorities of the two sides will coordinate with each other and reach a workable solution in respect of concrete measures and approaches.

17. The two sides agreed to develop cooperation in the areas of agricultural research, post-harvest technology, livestock and agricultural equipment and machinery including coconut processing machinery.

18. The two sides agreed on the importance of science and technology and innovation in development. China agreed to provide assistance in these areas, in particular information technology, nanotechnology, nuclear science, bio-technology, training of scientists, astronauts and engineers and space technology. The Chinese side noted the request for assistance for the National Science Center in Sri Lanka.

19. The two sides agreed to further enhance cultural exchanges and cooperation. Sri Lanka welcomed the establishment of the Chinese Cultural Center in Sri Lanka, and believed that it would help to strengthen bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the spheres of culture, education, religious ties and media, and intensify people-to-people communication as well as facilitate links between women, people’s organizations and academic institutions. China will provide Sri Lanka with more scholarships through relevant channels to encourage Sri Lankan students to study in China. Sri Lanka supports the efforts of the Confucius Institute to teach Chinese language in Sri Lanka.

20. The two sides agreed to strengthen communication and coordination in Asian affairs, and actively advocate a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable Asian security concept. Both sides agreed to initiate a maritime cooperation dialogue at an early date to discuss relevant subjects including maritime security.

21. China welcomed Sri Lanka to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member. China attaches importance to and supports Sri Lanka’s application for observer status of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and is willing to encourage the SCO to strengthen cooperation with Sri Lanka. China’s contribution to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), in its capacity as an Observer, was welcomed by Sri Lanka, which will support China’s effort in enhancing its cooperation with SAARC.

22. The two sides agreed to further strengthen consultation and coordination at the United Nations and in other multilateral fora, enhance cooperation in the areas of human rights, climate change, counter-terrorism and fighting transnational crimes, and to jointly uphold the rights and interests of the developing countries.

23. China welcomed the tangible and significant progress made in addressing the challenges of post-conflict development in Sri Lanka. The Chinese side appreciated the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) through the National Plan of Action. China also acknowledged the expansion of the mandate of the domestic mechanism of Sri Lanka including the establishment of an Advisory Council. The Chinese side pledged its continued support for Sri Lanka’s efforts in national reconciliation which would contribute to the further development of economic and social progress of its multi-ethnic and multi-religious people who enjoy equal rights.

24. Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his appreciation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government and the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for the warm hospitality accorded to him and the Chinese delegation.

25. The President of Sri Lanka thanked the Chinese Government for the generous support and assistance extended to Sri Lanka over the years towards the economic development and social progress of the country which has resulted in tangible benefits to the people of Sri Lanka.

Done in duplicate in Colombo, on 16th September 2014 in the Chinese and English languages, both texts being equally authentic. In case of any difference in interpretation, the English text shall prevail.

Minister of External Affairs                                 Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Democratic Socialist                                    The People’s Republic of China
Republic of Sri Lanka

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