COLOMBO: Chinese President Xi Jinping has emphasized on development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road during his visit to South Asian countries .
"I hope the visit will promote the profound friendship between the two peoples and that the ship of China-Sri Lanka friendship will brave the wind and waves along the magnificent 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," Xi said in Colombo.
The Chinese President held talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne .The landmark visit is expected to vigorously advance the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as Sri Lanka has shown strong support for the two China-proposed initiatives.
Since establishing diplomatic ties 57 years ago, China and Sri Lanka have enjoyed healthy and stable bilateral relations, which were upgraded in 2013 to a strategic cooperative partnership of reciprocal assistance and ever-lasting friendship, Xinhua reports.
China has become Sri Lanka's second largest trade partner and second largest source of imports. In 2013, China became Sri Lanka's largest investor and bilateral trade reached 3.62 billion U.S. dollars.
Earlier , Xi wrapped up his state visit to the Maldives after establishing a future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between the two countries.
Xi and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom held talks and agreed to establish a future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between their two countries.
Xi said China and the Maldives will expand cooperation in trade, tourism, infrastructure construction and the maritime sector, to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
President Xi also called for both countries to open more flights in a bid to facilitate travellers and further enhance people to people exchanges. China has been its biggest source of tourists for four years in a row.
The number of Chinese tourists reached a record high last year touching 330-thousand, making up one-third of the travellers in the Maldives.Maldives tourism authorities expect that 300,000 Chinese tourists will visit the island this year.
Sri Lanka is the third leg of Xi's ongoing four-country Asia trip, after Tajikistan and Maldives and will also visit India.
Source : Xinhua
Sept 17 , 2014