Sino- Sri Lanka relations- beginning of a new era says President
[August 31, 2005 - 8.15 GMT]

At yesterday’s official reception at the lawn of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing the visiting President Chandrika Kumaratunga was accorded a Guard-of-honour and a rousing welcome. The Chinese President Hu Jintao made the welcome address. The Sri Lankan Leader during her response expressed confidence that the landmark agreements signed on Tuesday would mark the beginning of a new era in economic and political cooperation between Sri Lanka and China and would take Sino-Sri Lankan relations to a higher level.

Kumaratunga thanked the Chinese government and its peoples for their warm hospitality, referring to the agreements reached during her Sate visit, the President made special reference to two joint venture projects, namely the Hambantota Port and the phosphate mining and fertilizer Project.

The President observed “The Port in Hambantota would be the first major harbor constructed by any government since independence and the phosphate mining and fertilizer project, is the first time mining will be done in a scientific manner”.

President Kumaratunga said the focus of the discussions held in the sphere of tourism was on new avenues to increase the movement of tourists both ways, attractive travel purchases and other attractive packages.

The President said her government has prioritized several areas of activity in the social and economic spheres. The Sri Lankan Free Market Economy was given a new face by her Government, she explained this entailed extensive programmes for poverty alleviation while meeting the demands of a modern world. Kumaratunga said, “This meant we had to accelerate infrastructure like ports, power supply, telephones and social infrastructure like health and education”.

The President said the country’s infrastructure was in a poor state, when her Government took over 12 years ago, today, through an accelerated infrastructure development programme “over 60% of Sri Lanka’s rural population had electricity and there was a five fold increase in telephone subscribers”.  The Government she said was in the process of developing express highways and had undertaken major development in the Ports and Airport.

The Sri Lankan leader thanked her Chinese counterpart for his leadership and guidance and for the assistance provided to Sri Lanka. She further thanked the Chinese leader for his views and sentiments expressed on a wide range of issues concerning women and for their cause.

President Kumaratunga said Sri Lanka would give serious consideration to China’s concerns on certain UN reforms adding she looked forward to meeting him at the world body in a couple of weeks.











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Last Updated Date: August 31, 2005 - 8.15 GMT


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Sino- Sri Lanka relations- beginning of a new era says President