Sri Lanka and Japan agreed to work towards expanding maritime cooperation between the two countries, especially with Sri Lanka’s potential to become a maritime hub in the region using its unique location on the Indian Ocean sea lanes.
This decision was announced in a joint statement between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe following a summit meeting held last evening (March 14), at the Prime Minister's Office. President Rajapaksa is currently on a four day official visit to Japan.
President Rajapaksa, at the joint press briefing that followed, said that Sri Lanka is determined to strengthen the dialogue with Japan towards “developing a sustainable economic partnership,” noting that the relations between the two countries have “grown significantly” during the past 60 years since diplomatic ties were established.
Prime Minister Abe also expressed Japan’s willingness to develop bilateral relations in the areas of maritime and the economy.
“Sri Lanka is a maritime nation in Asia with which we share democratic values,” Prime Minister Abe said. “I’m extremely pleased to sign the joint statement which identifies the direction of the bilateral corporation, together with the President. It is my sincere wish that the bilateral relationship will further deepen and broaden with the visit by President Rajapaksa.”
The two leaders had also agreed to work together in addressing other regional and international social issues.
“Our people highly appreciate the generosity and good will extended by Japan to Sri Lanka,” President Rajapaksa said. “I look forward to further strengthening Sri Lanka’s engagement with Japan.”
Other members in the Sri Lankan delegation at the summit included Senior Minister of Urban Affairs A. H. M. Fowzie, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Nimal Siripala de Silva, Monitoring MP for Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Governor of Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Japan Admiral (Rtd.) Wasantha Karannagoda.