Colombo, Jan 17: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena is "upbeat" about strengthening ties with China and has assured implementation of "outcomes" reached during last year's visit here of Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
"The new government, together with China, will implement the outcomes of this state visit on the existing basis, strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields and push forward the development of Sri Lanka-China relations," Sirisena was quoted as telling Chinese Ambassador to Colombo Wu Jianghao by a Chinese Embassy statement.
Wu met Sirisena yesterday and congratulated him for his victory, the Chinese Embassy here said in the statement.
Sirisena thanked Xi for his congratulatory message and recalled the Chinese President's "very successful" visit to Sri Lanka last September, it said. During his visit to Colombo, Xi laid foundation stone for the USD 1.4 billion port city to expand the Colombo Port which along with heavy loans procured by Rajapaksa had come under criticism from the then opposition.
The port is expected to play a key role for China's ambitious Maritime Silk Road project in India's backyard. Meanwhile, China also donated USD 3 million to the flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Disaster Management Center said nearly 800,000 people were affected while about 80,000 displaced people had to be housed in shelters in Sri Lanka as a result of the floods.
"Sri Lanka and China, as traditional friendly neighbours, are proved as sincere partners. China has always attached great importance to bilateral ties and will continue to promote the development of China-Sri Lanka's strategic partnership of cooperation," Wu said. Relations between the two countries reached a historic high under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.