Chinese, Sri Lankan FMs meet on sidelines of UNGA session-Xinhua

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) meets with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Sabry on the sidelines of the ongoing 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States, September 23, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

NEW YORK, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Sabry here Friday on the sidelines of the ongoing 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

As strategic cooperation partners, Wang said China and Sri Lanka have always shared weal and woe and sincerely helped each other.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Sri Lanka and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Gum-Rice Pact, which is an opportunity to build on and advance their past achievements, Wang said.

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China stands ready to work with Sri Lanka to strengthen their traditional friendship, cement strategic mutual trust, and deepen and expand practical cooperation, he added.

Wang congratulated Sri Lanka on its progress in stabilizing the situation and alleviating difficulties in the country. China has provided medicine, rice, fuel and other emergency humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka and will continue to help the country overcome its temporary difficulties to the best of its ability, he said.

For his part, Sabry stressed the solid foundation of friendship between Sri Lanka and China.

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Sri Lanka will never forget China’s strong support for its economic and social development over the years, especially when the South Asian country has encountered difficulties, he noted.

China is an important development partner of Sri Lanka and Chinese companies have contributed to Sri Lanka’s growth, he said, stressing that the so-called “Chinese debt trap” is a completely unfounded rumor.

Sri Lanka welcomes investments from all countries, including China, and will ensure the safety and reasonable returns of the investments, Sabry noted. He also thanked China for helping Sri Lankan students resume their studies in China.

China-Sri Lanka cooperation is South-South cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit, Wang said. The “debt trap” narrative created and propagated by certain countries is essentially an underdevelopment trap for developing countries, he added.

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China and Sri Lanka will continue to show mutual understanding and support, and stand firm on issues of sovereignty, independence and national dignity, Wang said.

Both sides agreed to jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and contribute to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery by utilizing Hambantota Port, Colombo Port City and other flagship projects.

Both sides will speed up the negotiation process and strive for an early conclusion of a free trade agreement in order to strengthen confidence in their economic and trade cooperation and stabilize expectations.

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