A long felt need to promote and nurture Sino-Lanka relations was realized recently with the inauguration of China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Centre (CSLCSC) at the headquarters of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) by Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang.
China has been a steadfast friend of Sri Lanka during the long period of the armed conflict that ended in 2009. Since then, China stepped into support infrastructure development that came to a standstill during the period of strife and funded numerous development projects at time when the country faced scarcity in foreign investment.
With the establishment of the CSLCSC, the PF expects to undertake research and studies to identify areas of economic cooperation, investment and promote people to people relations that would serve to further strengthening of bilateral cooperation. The centre is also expected to provide a linkage, facilitating contacts between think tanks, academics and researchers in the two countries, whose contributions would take Sino-Lanka relations to a higher level of excellence.
Pathfinder Foundation Founder Milinda Moragoda warmly greeted Ambassador Xi and his staff and following the inauguration of the centre, invited the ambassador to a dialogue with a group of erudite Buddhist monks, which lasted for over an hour. During the dialogue, venerable monks highlighted the role of Buddhism in linking the two countries together since the days of the Chinese monk Fa Xian in the fifth century.
Ambassador Xi explained his personal mission in promoting religious and cultural relations between the two countries and agreed to provide assistance for young Buddhist monks to learn the Chinese language locally and facilitating them to further their education in China. He complemented Moragoda for the role played by him in bringing the Buddhist clergy for a dialogue with him and said the PF was the foremost among the think tanks in Sri Lanka that focused on multifaceted issues disseminating correct information to the public. The group of leading Buddhist monks, who attended the dialogue, included Ven. Ittepane Dhammalankara, Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawasa and Ven. Tirikunamale Ananda Theras.
Highlighting his interest in seeing more Chinese Buddhists and monks visiting Sri Lanka, Ambassador Xi said his embassy would promote two-way relationship that would cement historical relations. Commenting on Sino-Sri Lanka relations, PF Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke said China’s unwavering friendship and close cooperation helped Sri Lanka to go through a difficult period. If the past had been difficult, future development prospects would be equally daunting, considering the expectations of people, particularly the youth. China could help Sri Lanka to weather difficult times by providing economic support and promoting investment and essential infrastructure development needed by the country.