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Sri Lanka and China issue a joint statement 

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The Government of Sri Lanka and the People’s Republic of China have issued a joint statement regarding President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official visit to China. 

Mr. Wickramasinghe, who went to participate in the Third Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing, met and discussed separately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Ding Xuxiang during the relevant visit. 

The full Joint Statement is given below.

Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Beijing, October 20, 2023

1. At the invitation of H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, attended the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China from October 16 to 20, 2023.

2. During the visit, President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang had separate meetings with President Ranil Wickremesinghe. In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, leaders of the two countries had in-depth exchange of views and reached extensive common understandings on deepening China-Sri Lanka traditional friendship, on expanding mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

3. The two heads of state expressed satisfaction over the development of China-Sri Lanka relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1957. For 66 years, the two countries have all along advocated the spirit of the Agreement on Rice for Rubber, remained committed to independence, self-reliance, solidarity and mutual assistance, and firmly supported each other on issues regarding core interests and major concerns. The two sides jointly responded to risks and challenges including natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic difficulties, and kept cementing strategic mutual trust and carrying forward traditional friendship. The China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership based on sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship has become a fine example of friendly interactions and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different sizes, and carries special and important significance for both countries.

4. The two sides agreed to maintain the momentum of high-level interactions, expand exchanges and cooperation between governments and other stakeholders, strengthen strategic communication on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the principle of good neighbourliness and friendship, and identify priorities and directions for the future development of bilateral relations. 

5. The two sides reiterated mutual support on issues regarding each other’s core interests and major concerns. Sri Lanka reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China principle, recognizing that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and reiterated that it supports the efforts by the Chinese Government to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposes any form of “Taiwan independence.” Sri Lanka reiterated that it will never allow any separatist activity against China on Sri Lanka’s soil. The Chinese side reaffirmed its commitment to the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and the foreign policy of forging friendship and partnership in the neighbourhood. China firmly supports Sri Lanka in upholding its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, respects and supports Sri Lanka’s independent choice of development path that suits its national conditions.

6. Sri Lanka commended China’s achievements in its economic and social development in recent years under the wise leadership of President Xi Jinping.

7. Sri Lanka expressed appreciation to China’s valuable support during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as during the economic crisis in 2022.

8. China has provided a financing support document to Sri Lanka in a timely manner and helped Sri Lanka obtain loans from the International Monetary Fund in March 2023. In late September, as official creditor, the Export-Import Bank of China has reached a preliminary agreement with Sri Lanka on the debt treatment. China will continue to support its financial institutions in conducting friendly consultation with Sri Lanka to reach early agreement on treatment of debts related to China. The Chinese side is willing to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to keep playing a positive role in helping Sri Lanka address its current difficulties, alleviate debt burden and realize sustainable development. Sri Lanka commended China for its support to Sri Lanka to ease financial difficulties.

9. Under the leadership and guidance of leaders of both countries, China and Sri Lanka have achieved fruitful outcomes on Belt and Road cooperation. Sri Lanka reiterated it will continue to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China. The two sides agreed to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Accelerating the Formulation of the Cooperation Plan on the Belt and Road Initiative Between the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National Policies of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation Between the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National Policies of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Memorandum of Understanding Between the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization & National Policies of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Concerning Cooperation on Green and Low-Carbon Development, Implementation Agreement of China-Aid Subsidized Housing Project for Low Income Category at Colombo, Sri Lanka, to share development experiences, synergize development strategies and advance cooperation in a coordinated manner, thus creating new bright spots and fresh momentum for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries.

10. Sri Lanka welcomes Chinese enterprises playing a positive role in its economic development and more investment from Chinese enterprises for which it will foster a favourable investment and business environment. China will continue to encourage competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Sri Lanka and conduct mutually beneficial cooperation. The Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port are signature projects of Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries. Sri Lanka welcomes further investment from Chinese enterprises, expressedreadiness to facilitate a conducive environment for investments in the Port City including necessary legislative measures. 

11. The two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made in bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, and agreed to conclude a comprehensivefree trade agreement as quickly as possible to strengthen two-way trade and economic cooperation. The two sides will carry out practical cooperation in finance on the basis of market principles, autonomy and rule of law to further enhance financial services and economic and trade development.

The Chinese side will continue to support competitive Sri Lankan industries in establishing ties with relevant Chinese associations of importers and exporters, provide facilitation and support for Sri Lankan exporters to participate in Chinese exhibitions including the China International Import Expo, the China Import and Export Fair, the China-South Asia Exposition, the China International Supply Chain Expo, and encourage Chinese and Sri Lankan enterprises to deepen cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and bolster Sri Lankan exports to China. The two sides agreed to sign the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Export of Ceylon Cinnamon from Sri Lanka to China between the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Plantation Industries of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Protocol on Inspection, Quarantine and Veterinary Sanitary Requirements for Wild Fishing Aquatic Products to be Exported from the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the People’s Republic of China between the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China and the Purview of the Ministry of Fisheries of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

12. The two sides agreed to enhance exchanges and cooperation between their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), encourage their SMEs, service providers, industrial associations, and scientific and research institutes to increase communication, establish cooperation platforms for industrial cooperation, scientific and technological research and development, electronic flight services and training,create innovative cooperation models, expand channels of cooperation and enrich cooperation. The Chinese side welcomes the participation of Sri Lankan SMEs in the China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair.

13. China and Sri Lanka enjoy close exchanges and sound interactions in agricultural cooperation. The Chinese side is ready to carry out technological exchanges and training cooperation in areas including bio-technologies for tropical crops, plant breeding, aquaculture, agricultural processing, market development and agriculture modernization, thus helping Sri Lanka enhance its comprehensive agricultural production capacity. The Chinese side welcomes more imports of quality agricultural products from Sri Lanka.

14. The two sides fully recognized the importance of education exchanges for increasing understanding and friendship, and expressed readiness to further enhance exchanges of teachers, students, and researchers. The two sides agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation in the areas of science and education, and encourage educational institutions to carry out cooperative research and joint cultivation. The two sides agreed to support the development of the “China-Sri Lanka Joint Center of Science and Education.” The two sides agreed to sign the Letter of Exchange of Feasibility Study on China-Aid Project of Digital Transformation for the General Education in Sri Lanka.

15. The two sides spoke positively of the progress in bilateral cooperation in culture and tourism. The two sides will continue to encourage their citizens to travel to each other’s country and provide assistance for each other to expand tourism market. Both sides agree to encourage better air connectivity between the two countries. Sri Lanka is ready to introduce more policies to facilitate tourism. China is ready to provide facilitation for Sri Lanka to build a Sri Lankan Buddhist pagoda at the Baima Temple in Luoyang, Henan Province, China. 

16. The two sides agreed to continue to deepen people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between sister cities. The two sides will take the China (Chongqing)-Sri Lanka Roundtable on Poverty Reduction and Development Cooperation as a starting point to enhance experience sharing on poverty reduction by establishing platforms, organizing training and promoting think tank exchanges.

17. The two sides are ready to carry out closer cooperation in climate change adaptation and sustainable development, emphasizing that joint implementation of green measures are effective ways to mitigate climate change. The two sides are ready to strengthen coordination and deepen exchanges and cooperation in fields including disaster prevention and mitigation, maritime rescue, relief and research, maritime personnel training and capacity building and further explore cooperation on the blue economy. The two sides agreed to sign the Tri-Partite Agreement among Chinese Academy of Sciences of the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Water Supply & Estate Infrastructure Development of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the University of Peradeniya of Sri Lanka.

18. The two sides reiterated their firm commitment to upholding true multilateralism, promoting greater democracy in international relations, and making global governance more just and equitable. The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation within the United Nations and other multilateral mechanisms to uphold the common interests of developing countries. The two sides expressed their support for the multilateral trading system, opposition to protectionism and readiness to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all and to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Sri Lanka firmly supports and actively participates in the Global Development Initiative (GDI), the Global Security initiative (GSI), and the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) proposed by China. China is ready to conduct in-depth discussions with Sri Lanka on specific measures to implement the above-mentioned initiatives, and work together for global and regional peace, security, development and prosperity.

19. President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed appreciation to the Chinese government and people for the warm hospitality extended to him and the Sri Lankan delegation, and invited Chinese leaders to visit Sri Lanka. Chinese leaders thanked President Ranil Wickremesinghe for the invitation, and the two sides will maintain communication via diplomatic channels.

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French ambassador in SL, passes away

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The French Ambassador for Sri Lanka and Maldives Jean-François Pactet has passed away today (May 26).

According to the police, the ambassador has passed away at his official residence.

He was 53 years old.He has served as the Ambassador in Sri Lanka since October 2022.

A career diplomat, Pactet was previously Deputy Director of Culture and Education in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

From 2016 to 2019, Jean-François Pactet was in charge of the Ministry’s policy regarding global health, gender equality and education, and supervised French contributions to multilateral funds in these areas.

Prior to this, Jean-François Pactet has been posted at the French Embassy to the United States in Washington (2012-2016) and at the French Permanent Representation to NATO in Brussels. 

He was also a Deputy Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Veteran singer and musician Ananda Perera passes away

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Renowned singer and musician Ananda Perera has passed away at the age of 67.

Family sources confirmed that he died while receiving treatment at a hospital in Kandy.

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Tea represents harmony, social inclusivity, says China – SL reps. to UN (Video)

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Tea as a popular drink shared by multiple countries around the world stands for harmony, diversity and social inclusivity, said representatives both of China and Sri Lanka to the United Nations at a ceremony held in the United Nations headquarter in New York on Tuesday.

The event themed “Tea for Harmony” was held to celebrate the International Tea Day, which also fell on Tuesday with a nod to China’s centuries-old tea traditions. It is co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of China to the UN and China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

“For thousands of years, tea has traveled along the Silk Road and the maritime routes to reach people around the world. Tea cultures from various countries, while sharing the same roots, have deeply integrated with their own customs and traditions. Just like this year’s theme ‘Tea for Harmony’ suggests, tea has indeed played an important role in promoting harmony within diversity,” said Dai Bing, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN.

In his opening speech, Mohan Peiris, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to UN, noted that tea functions as a means to bring people together for a casual chat, and thus helps to encourage social interaction and stands for inclusivity.

“Drinking tea promotes social interaction. Sharing tea provides an opportunity for individuals to come together. And that’s something we do here in the delegates lounge. It facilitates conversation. Let’s have a chat over a cup of tea. It encourages inclusivity. Community drinking can bring people together. Well, it also fosters equal footing. The very act of sharing a cup of tea is typically egalitarian. It’s big,” he said.

Products from Xinyang, a well-known tea-producing region in central China’s Henan Province, were highlighted at the event, with tea masters making drink with Xinyang Maojian, a widely welcomed local green tea at the scene.

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