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China focuses on long term relations with Sri Lanka: new ambassador

(Xinhua)    08:24, March 12, 2015

COLOMBO, March 11  -- China will continue to be a staunch friend of Sri Lanka with long term engagement to promote a stronger economic partnership between the two countries, new Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang told local media here on Wednesday.

It was important for the new Sri Lankan government to support Chinese investment and honor agreements made by the state, said the ambassador during talks with the local media.

"We believe that the Sri Lankan side will reciprocate our goodwill. China has confidence in our bilateral relations because in the past decades we always stood by each other, in good or bad times," he said.

"China is willing to continue as a trustworthy and reliable partner of Sri Lanka and its people. No matter how the situation changes, the two sides should cherish the long standing bilateral friendship, and unswervingly stick to warm bilateral relations, advancement of bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as mutual support on international and regional affairs," the ambassador added.

He was referring to the 1.4 billion U.S. dollar port city project in the capital constructed by a Chinese company, which has been suspended for two weeks on alleged transparency issues by the Sri Lankan government.

The project, which is the largest foreign direct investment to the island, has caught much attention with the Sri Lankan government reassessing the environmental impact and land ownership issues by the Chinese company.

Ambassador Yi mentioned the extensive projects undertaken by Chinese companies since the end of a three decade war in Sri Lanka in 2009, which include a 360 million U.S. dollar port and 1.2 billion U.S. dollar coal power plant.

He emphasized the important role played by these projects, which is estimated to be worth around 5 billion U.S. dollars, in developing post-war Sri Lanka.

"China will, together with Sri Lanka and other relevant countries, commit to enhancing the capability for self-development with the joint construction of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, " he said.

Both sides are also looking forward to the visit of Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to China later this month.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Du Mingming,Yao Chun)

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