Sri Lanka's new Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said today in Beijing that the new government will not allow a repeat of last year's visits by a Chinese submarine that had raised concerns in India.
Asked following his two-day visit to Beijing if the new Colombo government would, as ousted President Mahinda Rajapaksa had done, allow Chinese submarines access to Sri Lankan ports, Samaraweera said, "I really don't know under which sort of circumstances that led to some submarines.. to the port of Colombo on the very day the Japanese Prime Minister was visiting Sri Lanka. But we will ensure that such incidents, from whatever quarter, do not happen during our tenure."
Samaraweera held talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit.
The focus of his talks was to lay the groundwork for new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena visit to China starting March 26 - his second overseas tour following his February visit to India.
Samaraweera said the new government would bring Sri Lanka's foreign policy 'back to the centre' and make it more balanced, but rejected suggestions that this meant diluting the close ties Rajapaksa built with China.
"Back to the centre I don't think has any bearing on Sri Lanka China relations. It will remain as they were, and we will try to strengthen relations with China further in terms of rest of the world," he added. (IndiaToday)