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China ready to help Sri Lanka defeat pandemic at early date: FM

(Xinhua)    11:00, February 28, 2021

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- China is ready to enhance anti-epidemic cooperation with Sri Lanka, continue to provide vaccine assistance to the country and take concrete actions to help Sri Lanka defeat the pandemic at an early date, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

In a phone conversation with Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Wang said that the two countries are strategic cooperative partners of sincere mutual assistance and lasting friendship.

Over the past year, the two countries joined hands to fight against the pandemic and supported each other, and their bilateral relations maintained a strong development momentum, he said.

Noting that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Wang said that China has won the victory of ending extreme poverty and achieved great results in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and will embark on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country.

China's development means a growing force for peace and the growth of developing countries, which will provide more development opportunities for developing countries, including Sri Lanka, he added.

Wang called on the two sides to make solid progress in cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, turning the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port into two major engines to boost Sri Lanka's economic development, pushing for Sri Lanka's industrialization, and enhancing the country's capacity for independent development.

Gunawardena, for his part, said Sri Lanka regards China as its closest friend and sincerely thanks China for its long-term, selfless help for Sri Lanka's economic development, improvement of people's livelihood, and coping with internal and external challenges.

In recent years, Gunawardena said, some Western countries, including the United States, have once again exploited the human rights issues, and baselessly accused developing countries including Sri Lanka in the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. He expressed his hope that China will continue to uphold justice and stand with developing countries.

Wang said that some Western countries are used to pressuring developing countries on the pretext of human rights, adding that China firmly opposes this, and is willing to unswervingly support each other with Sri Lanka to jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, the basic norms governing international relations, and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter including non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.

Gunawardena warmly congratulated China on the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding, saying that China has, under the leadership of the CPC, completely lifted itself out of poverty, made great development achievements, and significantly improved the livelihood of its people.

Gunawardena said China has also led other countries on the way towards common development, and made vital contribution to human civilization.

Sri Lanka appreciates China's fair stance on human rights issues and is willing to join hands with China to safeguard fairness and justice in regional and international affairs, he added. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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