Sri Lanka, with a time-honoured history, is displaying great vitality in the 21st century.
Since peace was restored in 2009, Sri Lanka has enjoyed political stability and social harmony. Reconstruction has progressed smoothly, resulting in rapid economic and social development and significant improvement of people’s livelihood. Sri Lanka has now become one of the most vibrant developing countries and is viewed by the international community as having great development prospects. I believe that under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka will surely realise the Mahinda Chintana.
The ties between China and Sri Lanka could be traced back to the 1,000 -year-old bond of Buddhism that was started by the visit of the eminent Chinese monk Fahien to Sri Lanka, to the seven historical sea voyages of Chinese navigator Zheng He, to the rice for rubber agreement that embodied true friendship in time of need, and also to the moving stories of mutual assistance of our two peoples in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Wenchuan earthquake.
Over the past 57 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China-Sri Lanka relations have steadily moved forward on a sound track, setting a good example of how countries of different sizes can live in amity and cooperate with each other for mutual benefit. Over the past decade or so, bilateral trade has grown over 10 times.
China has become Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner and source of import.
Last year saw more than 110,000 visits between the two peoples and the number is expected to rise substantially in the coming years.
Chinese companies have taken an active part in a number of infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, making positive contribution to the economic development and improvement of people’s life in Sri Lanka.
Last year, the two countries forged the strategic cooperative partnership of sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship, ushering the bilateral relationship into a new development stage. China-Sri Lanka relations are better than ever and blessed with new development opportunities.
I am looking forward to having in-depth exchange of views with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other leaders and people from various sectors of Sri Lanka on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest during my upcoming visit so as to consolidate our strategic cooperative partnership and work together for common development and for a better future.
* To coordinate our development strategies and work together as partners in pursuit of our dreams. The Mahinda Chintana, which represents Sri Lanka’s dream of national strength and prosperity, has much in common with the Chinese dream of realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation. Sri Lanka has envisaged itself becoming a five-fold hub: maritime, aviation, commerce, energy and knowledge, which coincides with China’s proposal to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
According to Buddhism, everything is based on one’s wishes. The more ambitious the wish, the more powerful it is.
China and Sri Lanka need to turn our wishes into a driving force and enhance exchanges and cooperation between us in maritime, business, infrastructure, defense, tourism and other areas so as to accelerate the renewal of the Maritime Silk Road for the benefit of our two countries and two peoples.
* To consolidate good-neighbourliness and friendship and work together as partners in pursuit of mutually beneficial development. As a Sri Lankan proverb goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; and teach a man how to fish and you feed him for life.
China will put into practice its guiding principles for neighborhood diplomacy, i.e. amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in its cooperation with Sri Lanka in every way so that China’s development may benefit the people of Sri Lanka to a greater extent.
China will continue to do what it can to assist Sri Lanka in its economic and social development, which may facilitate the industrial development in Sri Lanka and help improve its people’s life. The Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant and other projects in Sri Lanka that are undertaken by Chinese companies will help Sri Lanka to build up its capacity for self-development.
* To increase strategic coordination and become each other’s strong support. Both China and Sri Lanka need a peaceful, stable and friendly international environment for their national development.
China will uphold and carry forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, enhance coordination and cooperation with Sri Lanka in regional and international affairs and safeguard the common interests of the two countries and developing countries as a whole.
China appreciates the precious support that Sri Lanka has rendered China on issues involving China’s core interests.
And China firmly supports Sri Lanka in choosing a development path suited to its national conditions, firmly supports the efforts of Sri Lanka to safeguard its national independence, state sovereignty and territorial integrity and resolutely opposes any move by any country to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs under any excuse.
*To build a strong bridge of friendship and become true friends who understand each other. As an old Chinese saying goes, great friendship lies in sincerity. Since ancient times, the contacts between the Chinese and Sri Lankan people have left us many touching stories of friendly exchanges and mutual assistance.
In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese eye patients have regained eyesight with cornea donations of the Sri Lanka International Eye Bank, and they have thus had their window of the soul reopened for them.
The Chinese people will always cherish the memory of the sincere friendship from the Sri Lankan people. Just recently, “the Glamorous Sri Lanka” is on air in China.
It is a documentary co-produced by the China Central Television and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
It will attract more and more Chinese tourists to this beautiful land. We will continue to explore the profound historical and cultural assets of the two countries and continuously expand cultural, educational, religious, youth, women and local exchanges and cooperation between the two countries to facilitate the cultural interactions between the two countries and mutual understanding between the two peoples.
There is a line in a Chinese poem which reads: “The ocean is so vast that the fish may leap about happily; and the sky is so high that birds may glide freely.”
I believe that the ship of China-Sri Lanka friendship and cooperation is bound to brave the wind and waves along the magnificent 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to pursue the dream of national development.