March 11, 2021.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Dr. Palitha Kohona met with China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Luo Zhaohui on 3 March.
Vice Minister Zhaohui warmly welcomed the Ambassador and stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China will continue to extend its fullest support to the Ambassador in Beijing and effusively acknowledged his long standing connections with China.
The long discussion that followed included cooperation and mutual support in international fora, in economic matters for post COVID-19 recovery, effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic and future high-level visits. Vice Minister Zhaohui assured of China’s support to Sri Lanka at the UNHRC and its continued assistance as Sri Lanka confronts a critical economic challenge.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry will proactively support efforts to increase Chinese tourism to Sri Lanka and more businesses, including SOEs, to invest in the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Industrial Zone. The Vice Minister acknowledged that it was time for these two Chinese supported ventures to get off the ground. Both parties agreed that the recommencement of negotiations on the bilateral Free Trade Agreement with the view to concluding it soon would be advantageous to Sri Lanka. Dr. Kohona also raised the issue of non-tariff barriers, which are hindering access to the lucrative Chinese market for a range of natural, agricultural and industrial products.
Dr. Kohona commended China for successfully eliminating extreme poverty in 2020, consistent with a key SDG and congratulated the Communist Party of China as it celebrated its 100th year Anniversary. China’s spectacular success could be attributed to the prudent management of the country by the party, Dr. Kohona added.