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China-Sri Lanka ties to become stronger: Xi

China President Xi Jinping

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping today greeted his Sri Lankan counterpart Maithripala Sirisena on the island nation’s 67th anniversary of independence, saying the ties between the two countries will become stronger in future.

In his message to Sirisena, Xi said China and Sri Lanka are traditional friendly neighbours, and relations between the two countries have remained unshakable and become even firmer over the time goes by, as the mutually beneficial cooperation between them in various areas has brought about important interests to the two peoples.

Recalling his successful state visit to Lanka last year when former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, Xi said he was deeply touched by the Lankan people’s profound sentiments and friendship toward Chinese people.

“China attaches great importance to its ties with Sri Lanka and stands ready to work with the South Asian country to promote powerful development of the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries featuring sincere mutual assistance and friendship from generation to generation,” Xi was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Sri Lanka moved closer to China under Rajapaksa’s rule during which Beijing made billions of dollars of strategic investments including port projects.

After taking power, Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickaramasinghe said the new government would follow more balanced foreign policy maintaining traditional friendly relations with India and friendly ties with all major powers including China, US and Japan.

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