The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka hosted an appreciation reception on Tuesday (June 06) to appreciate the Sri Lanka Navy divers who participated in the search and rescue operation of the capsized Chinese vessel – Lupeng Yuanyu 028.
Before the reception, a minute of silence for the victims of the tragedy was observed and a special video clip presented by the Sri Lankan Navy to introduce the heroic rescue mission was played.
During the event, 09 divers of the Sri Lanka Navy were felicitated for their bravery. Floral tributes were paid to Lieutenant Commander S.A.I.A Subhasinghe, Petty Officer K.P.A. Arunajith, Petty Officer E.M.D.A. Ekanayaka, Petty Officer D.D.N. Jayathissa, Leading Seaman H.D. Darshana, Leading Seaman N.M.C.L. Narayana, Able Seaman W.W.N.C. Sandaruwan, Able Seaman I.D.L.M. Dissanayaka, and Able Seaman R.S. Kumarage.
The event was attended by a host of distinguished guests including Chinese ambassador in Colombo – Qi Zhenhong, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, the Indonesian ambassador to Sri Lanka – Madam Dewi Gustina Tobing, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka – Mr. Paul Stephens, Minister of Transport and Mass Media – Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, State Minister of Defence – Mr. Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, State Minister of Foreign Affairs – Mr. Tharaka Balasuriya, Chief of Defence Staff – Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army – Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, the commanding officer and crew of the SLNS Vijayabahu, diplomats and media.
Speaking, the Chinese ambassador – Mr. Qi Zhenhong praised the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and pointed out that the Sri Lankan divers were the first to dive into the water and enter the hull at the risk of their lives. “The Chinese people and all the families of the crew members of the fishing boat will always remember this special friendship,” he said.
The ambassador also thanked the Sri Lankan President – Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe “for his decisive and timely decision to provide full assistance” and defence officials for their immediate response despite the long distance.
“I would like to thank all the countries and agencies involved in the search and rescue operation for their timely help. This is not only a joint action to fulfill international obligations, but also a glorious mission to demonstrate the spirit of international humanitarianism,” he added.
Addressing the gathering, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said that this was the first ever diving operation by the Navy so far from Sri Lanka and that it was ‘truly an international effort. The incident had taken place in the Australian Search and Rescue region, the vessel involved was Chinese, the SLNS Vjayabahu was granted by the USA and almost 95% of the diving team had trained in India, he pointed out.
Adding a few words, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake also commended the bravery of the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and also thanked the Chinese embassy not only for the felicitation of the divers, but for inviting the entire crew of the SLNS Vjayabahu vessel for the event.
“As far as our relations go with China, I hope this helps us to strengthen it. You have held us through many tough times, especially during the crisis that we’ve had,” he said.
Cuba – SL Presidents meet
President Ranil Wickremesinghe, embarked on an official visit to Cuba ahead of his participation in the G77 plus China Summit in Havana on September 15-16, hosted by Cuba as the current Chair of the G77 plus China.
During his visit, President Wickremesinghe engaged in bilateral discussions with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez, reinforcing the bonds of friendship and dialogue between the two nations.
President Wickremesinghe’s arrival in Cuba was marked by a warm welcome, as he received a Guard of Honour at the Palace of Revolution. President Díaz-Canel Bermudez expressed Cuba’s appreciation for the visit, emphasizing its significance during these challenging times globally. He praised Sri Lanka’s commitment to friendship with Cuba and to the vital role played by the G77 and China in representing the global South.
In their discussions, President Wickremesinghe recalled the history of bilateral cooperation between Sri Lanka and Cuba, particularly in multilateral forums. Both nations have supported each other on issues like lifting sanctions against Cuba and human rights matters. They identified areas of future cooperation, including public health, agriculture and sports.
President Díaz-Canel accepted President Wickremesinghe’s invitation to visit Sri Lanka in 2024, underscoring Cuba’s continued support for Sri Lanka. He also highlighted Cuba’s role in addressing North-South gaps in Science, Technology and Innovation, expressing willingness to share expertise, particularly in vaccine development.
The two leaders emphasized the importance of bolstering the relationship between their countries, focusing on collaboration in medicine, healthcare, sports training and coconut cultivation. President Wickremesinghe expressed Sri Lanka’s commitment to supporting Cuba in international forums, while President Díaz-Canel assured support for Sri Lanka regarding human rights resolutions.
This meeting represents a significant step forward in strengthening diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and Cuba, with far-reaching implications for both nations and the broader global community. President Wickremesinghe was accompanied by key officials, including Secretary Foreign Affairs Ms. Aruni Wijewardane, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Cuba Mr. Lakshitha Ratnayake, the Director General of the United Nations and Multilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Rekha Gunasekera and Private Secretary to the President Ms. Sandra Perera.
(President’s Media Division)
Top performers at A/L exam, lauded (Pics)
Students who excelled in each stream at the GCE (A/L) examination in 2021 & 2022 Academic years were presented certificates & cash rewards by President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat today (12).
A total of 90 students including the top 10 students from the 6 streams in the 2022 Academic year & the top 5 students from the 6 streams in the 2021 Academic year were rewarded at this event.
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The course aims to improve the professional knowledge and skills of police officers.
Secretary of the Ministry – Mr. Viyani Gunathilaka, Chairman of the University Grants Commission – Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga, Vice Chancellor of the Sri Jayawardenepura University and many senior police officers also attended the event held at the Auditorium of the Criminal Records Division.
The registration of the maiden batch of police officers participating in this degree course also took place at the event.
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