Sri Lankan Ambassador: B&R Initiative brings new opportunities to bilateral ties
Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunasena Kodituwakku [Photo/China.org.cn]
This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunasena Kodituwakku shared his thoughts on the Belt and Road Initiative with China.org.cn in a recent exclusive interview. The following are excerpts.
The friendly interaction between China and Sri Lanka has a history of more than 2,000 years. Past decades had seen the formation of a considerable partnership in politics, economy and education. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, especially the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, is very important to Sri Lanka.
China has helped Sri Lanka finish many infrastructure projects in recent years, involving ports, airports, high-speed roads and railways. President Xi's visit to Sri Lanka in 2014 included the opening ceremony of the Colombo Port City, now renamed the Colombo International Financial City and will become the most important financial center in South Asia covering more than 1.5 billion people.
The South Asia region has been developing at an average annual rate of five percent in recent years. The rise of the financial center is of milestone significance to the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and future global trade, which will bring win-win results for not only China and Sri Lanka, but also the world.
Apart from the ports, Sri Lanka hopes China can build nearby regions into linked industrial parks. The cooperation with China strengthens Sri Lankan confidence with future development. The bilateral partnership since 1950 has proved to be a model partnership. Cooperation deepens mutual understanding and friendship, and improves the Sri Lanka people's livelihood.
The cooperation with China also gives Sri Lankan people big opportunities to take part. The ambassador hoped the two peoples could strengthen exchanges, with more Chinese tourists visiting and students studying in Sri Lanka, and vice versa.
It was a good opportunity now for the two peoples to make contact with each other, so as to deepen their mutual understanding. The leaders had laid a solid foundation for bilateral friendship, and it now depended on the two peoples, especially the younger generation, to use the opportunity to carry on friendship and mutual understanding into future.
The Sri Lankan Government was planning a series of activities to celebrate the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. At the end of this year, there would also be a large-scale activity in China to which some young performing artists from Sri Lanka would be invited.
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