January 3, 2016 10:03 pm
Sri Lanka is seeking to further cement its relations with China in the year ahead, a senior government minister said here recently.
A high-level delegation led by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to visit China this year amid efforts to strengthen ties, said the minister, who asked not to be named, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Wickremesinghe’s visit will come at a time when Sri Lanka resumes all its development projects which were suspended by his government earlier last year.
The projects include a multi-billion-dollar port city project funded by China in the capital city and other leisure facilities.
“During the visit, several key areas are expected to be discussed by both sides including the resumption of the suspended projects. China is a key partner for Sri Lanka and this government is committed to further boosting ties,” the minister said.
President Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in a presidential election in January last year, himself visited China in March -- his second official visit since winning the presidency.
Although there were immediate reports that relations between the two countries soured with the suspension of the Chinese-backed projects, Sirisena has expressed his will to seek further improved ties between the two countries.