China and Sri Lanka issue joint statement

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Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, who is on an official visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 27, 2024. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

The People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on Friday issued a joint statement.

The following is the full text of the statement.

Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Beijing, March 29, 2024

1. At the invitation of H.E. Li Qiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, paid an official visit to China and attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024 from March 25 to 30, 2024.

2. During the visit, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena called on H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, held talks with Premier Li Qiang, and met with H.E. Zhao Leji, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the two sides had in-depth discussions and reached extensive common understandings on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.

3. The two sides share the view that the peoples of China and Sri Lanka enjoy long-standing friendship, and have engaged in mutual learning, mutual assistance and seeking strength through unity. In the 67 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have strengthened traditional friendship, enhanced political mutual trust, achieved fruitful results in practical cooperation, and engaged in close coordination on regional and international issues, setting a fine example of friendly interactions and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different sizes. The two sides agree to carry forward the spirit of independence, self-reliance, solidarity and mutual assistance enshrined in the Agreement on Rice for Rubber, jointly tackle challenges, share opportunities and seek common development, thereby cementing and expanding the China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership based on sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship to bring greater benefits to the two countries and peoples.

4. The two sides agree to keep the momentum of high-level interactions, expand exchanges and cooperation between governments and other stakeholders, strengthen strategic communication, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and continue to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas.

5. The two sides reaffirm their mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns. Sri Lanka reaffirms its firm commitment to the one-China principle, recognizing the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the whole of China and Taiwan as an inalienable part of China’s territory, supporting all efforts of the Chinese government to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing “Taiwan independence” in any form. Sri Lanka reiterates that it will never allow its territory to be used for any anti-China secessionist activities. The Chinese side reiterates that it will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in upholding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and show respect for and support Sri Lanka in independently choosing a development path suited to its national conditions. China reaffirms its commitment to an independent foreign policy of peace. Sri Lanka reaffirms its commitment to an independent nonaligned foreign policy.

6. Sri Lanka commends the Chinese people for the great achievements they have made in pursuing modernization under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and holds the view that the Chinese path to modernization provides a pathway and an action plan for developing countries to develop on their own.

7. Sri Lanka expresses appreciation to the Chinese side for the support that helped its financial difficulties, and, in particular, the pioneering step taken by the Chinese financial institution last year to propose a bilateral debts settlement plan and the preliminary agreement reached with Sri Lanka on the settlement of China-related debts on the basis of friendly consultation. The Chinese side expresses its readiness to continue supporting its financial institution in actively consulting with Sri Lanka, maintain friendly communication with other creditors, and play a positive role in the International Monetary Fund, to help Sri Lanka ease its financial difficulties and achieve debt sustainability.

8. Sri Lanka expresses appreciation and thanks to the Chinese side for the assistance on its economic and social development, and speaks highly of the important role played by Belt and Road cooperation in boosting the economic development and livelihood improvement in Sri Lanka and other Belt and Road partner countries. The two sides agree to work together to deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, accelerate the formulation of a Belt and Road cooperation plan, and make all-out efforts to advance the Colombo Port City project and the integrated development project of Hambantota Port as signature projects of Belt and Road cooperation between the two countries.

9. Sri Lanka welcomes the investment of more Chinese enterprises, and stands ready to provide a favorable investment and business environment for them and roll out at a faster pace preferential policies to facilitate the implementation of the Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port integrated development projects. China will continue to encourage competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Sri Lanka and assist Sri Lanka in achieving economic transformation and sustainable development.

10. The two sides expressed satisfaction over the progress of bilateral cooperation in economy and trade. Sri Lanka expressed appreciation over the multiple measures China has adopted to increase import from Sri Lanka. China expressed its readiness to continue supporting Sri Lankan enterprises in the tea and other industries in establishing ties with relevant Chinese associations of importers and exporters, facilitate Sri Lanka’s participation in expos such as the China International Import Expo, the China-South Asia Exposition and the China Import and Export Fair, make good use of e-commerce platforms, and further enhance cooperation between enterprises of the two countries on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. The two sides will work toward the early conclusion of a comprehensive free trade agreement in one package in line with the principles of equality, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes.

11. China is ready to work with Sri Lanka and continue to deliver on the emergency humanitarian assistance to support Sri Lanka in its economic development and livelihood improvement. China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to step up cooperation in such areas as medical health, connectivity and climate change. China welcomes Sri Lankan officials, experts and scholars on climate change to take part in training programs in China.

12. The two sides speak highly of their exchange and cooperation programs in such fields as the development of tropical crops industries, protection and utilization of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, and farming and processing of agricultural products. The two sides will continue to work together on agritech exchange and training, with a focus on shared cooperation priorities, and help Sri Lanka enhance its comprehensive agricultural production capacity. China will give full scope to the role of the China-South Asian Countries Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Center in Chongqing, to carry out the China-Sri Lanka friendship hybrid rice demonstration park and other poverty reduction and livelihood assistance projects in Sri Lanka, strengthen exchange and training for agricultural technology and management personnel, promote the application of scientific and technological outcomes, and help Sri Lanka increase rice yield and farmers’ income and boost rural development. China welcomes more imports of quality agricultural products from Sri Lanka.

13. 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 will work together to ensure the sound development and operation of the China-Sri Lanka Joint Center of Science and Education under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and carry out joint studies, personnel training and other cooperation. 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 domain awareness, marine biological diversity, maritime personnel training and capacity building, and further explore cooperation on the blue economy for the building of a maritime community with a shared future. The two sides will hold periodical bilateral consultations on maritime affairs.

14. The two sides will, under the framework of the Alliance for Cultural Heritage in Asia, deepen cooperation on cultural heritage. China is ready to provide assistance to Sri Lanka in the authentication and restoration of porcelain ware and other Chinese artifacts brought to Sri Lanka by Admiral Zheng He during his navigation in ancient times.

15. The two sides will continue to encourage tourist travel by their citizens in each other’s country, encourage the strengthening of aviation connectivity, and leverage the role of the China Cultural Center in Sri Lanka. China will continue to support Sri Lanka in holding tourism promotion activities in China. Sri Lanka is ready to roll out more tourism facilitation policies.

16. The two sides agreed to deepen sister-city and people-to-people exchange and cooperation, to foster deeper understanding and affinity between the two peoples. The two sides will take active steps to promote the establishment of a sister-city relationship between Dali city of Yunnan Province of China and Seethawakapura of Sri Lanka. The medical team of Yunnan Province will continue to provide services in Sri Lanka under the Brightness Action program.

17. The two sides will jointly champion the building of an equal and orderly multi-polar world, practice true multilateralism, promote greater democracy in international relations, and call on all countries to jointly safeguard the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter, jointly defend the universally recognized basic norms of international relations, and jointly contribute to the reform and development of the global governance system. The two sides will join hands in promoting universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization, firmly reject unilateralism, protectionism and deglobalization in all their forms, and ensure the stable and smooth functioning of the global industrial and supply chains.

18. The two sides hold the view that in marking the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, it is important to further carry forward these five principles, i.e. respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, mutual noninterference in internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, and commit to building a community with a shared future for Asia and for mankind. Sri Lanka reiterates its firm support for and readiness to actively participate in the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by China.

19. During the visit, the two sides signed cooperation documents in industrial investment, standardization, livelihood assistance, agriculture, media and other areas.

20. Prime Minister Gunawardena 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 Prime Minister Gunawardena for the invitation, and the two sides will maintain communication via diplomatic channels.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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