Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Sri Lanka today signifying a further cementing of centuries old ties between the two nations, with specific focus on trade and economy. President Xi is the second President of the People’s Republic of China to visit Sri Lanka in 28 years.
Direct investment from China has contributed to economic growth and employment generation in Sri Lanka.
The Chinese President is expected to inaugurate the final phase of the Lakvijaya coal power plant for which the Chinese government has extended financial assistance amounting to US$ 1.3 billion.He will also join in launching construction of the Colombo Port City tomorrow.
An extent of 273 hectares will be reclaimed from the sea under this project and China Harbour Corporation Limited will invest US$ 1.4 billion in the first phase of the project. The two countries will also sign more than 20 agreements forging closer ties in the political, economic, cultural and social arena.
China has emerged the largest foreign direct investor accounting for one fourth of the inflows in 2013.
According to Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abewardena loans and investments from China have played a significant role in Sri Lanka’s post war reconstruction.
The minister added that more than 14 Chinese companies registered at the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and these companies have also created more than 2,050 employment avenues.
He said the 21st century Maritime silk route initiative is expected to attract more foreign investments especially the Chinese investment.
China provided financial assistance totaling US$ 1.6 billion for the implementation of the first and the second phase of the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Harbour through the Export and Import Bank of China.
The Chinese government also provided financial support of US$ 248 million for the construction of Colombo Katunayake Expressway which was opened last year.
The country’s second international airport The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport was constructed with financial assistance of the Chinese government. The Chinese government provided a soft loan of US$ 190 million for the first phase.
Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianhao said Chinese tourist arrival has increased from 4,000 in 2011 to 40,000 by the end of 2013.
Meanwhile, Xinhua in a Colombo datelined report states booming economic and trade relations between China and Sri Lanka is expected to enter a golden era, as the latter is an important participant and major beneficiary of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route initiative.
The two nations are anticipating more cooperation and closer ties in trade and economy with the upcoming Sri Lanka visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who proposed the initiative of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route last year.
At a briefing on President Xi’s upcoming visit to Maldives, Sri Lanka and India from September 14 to 19, China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao said China’s relations with Sri Lanka have been healthy and stable since the two established diplomatic ties 57 years ago. China-Sri Lanka relations have become an example of friendly coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation between large and small countries, he said.
Over the years, the two countries have maintained frequent exchange of visit by high-level officials, continuously deepened practical cooperation in trade, investment and infrastructure development and expanded cultural and people-to-people exchanges, he added.
China has become Sri Lanka’s second largest trade partner and the second largest sources of imports to Sri Lanka. In 2013, bilateral trade reached 3.62 billion U.S. dollars, and China became Sri Lanka’s largest investor, statistics from Sri Lanka showed.