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Sri Lanka, China pledge closer ties on 60th anniversary celebrations of key pact

(Xinhua)

08:33, July 11, 2012

COLOMBO, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka and China reaffirmed their strong relations on Tuesday by celebrating a landmark Rubber- Rice agreement that was the precursor to establishing formal diplomatic relations, Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne said here.

The prime minister told a large gathering that the Rubber-Rice pact signed between the two countries in 1952 was a landmark moment for both countries.

"China gave us rice while we exported rubber to them. This was industrially very important to both countries and was done at a time when western powers had much influence over policy decisions made by Sri Lanka.

The agreement lasted for nearly three decades and formed the foundation for a close relationship in our post- independent history," he said.

He also thanked the Chinese government for all the assistance given to Sri Lanka's development since the end of a three-decade war in 2009.

Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao expressed his confidence in the continuation of economic cooperation between the two countries and assured that he would do his utmost to promote relations between the two countries.

"We will actively explore new measures to expand investment to Sri Lanka, increase import from Sri Lanka and attract more Chinese tourists to visit your beautiful country.

It is my firm belief that Sri Lanka with its industrious people, strong leadership with far vision, will make steady progress on its path to build the emerging Wonder of Asia," he added.

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