Sri Lanka maintains its “One China Policy” and President Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to reiterate his government’s commitment to this policy during meetings with high-level Chinese officials, a release from the Presidential spokesman and International Media Unit states.
It said contacts between Sri Lanka and China occurred as far back as 206 BC. Many of the missions that were exchanged during earlier times were of a religious nature while also focusing on establishing better political relations and forging closer trade ties. Sri Lanka recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1950, marking a turning point in relations between the two countries.
In December of 1952, Sri Lanka and China signed the Rubber-Rice Pact. The agreement helped break the blockade and embargo that was imposed on China by Western nations. On February 7, 1957 Sri Lanka and China initiated full diplomatic relations.
The visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping will be the first by a Chinese President to Sri Lanka in 28 years. The last Chinese President to visit the island was President Li Xiannian in 1986.
China is the country that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has visited the most during his time in office, visiting the East Asian nation seven times from 2007 to 2014. China has now become Sri Lanka’s largest development partner with assistance to projects such as: * Southern Expressway, * Hambantota Port Development Project, * Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, * Mattala International Airport, * Katunayake Airport Expressway, * Moragahakanda Irrigation Development Project, *Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.
Currently, there are more than 800 Sri Lankan students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programs at various universities in China. About 100 of these students are benefiting from scholarships provided by the Chinese government. In recent years, many Sri Lankan students have received the opportunity to pursue higher studies in China through scholarships provided either by the Chinese government or other organisations.