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Ties with Beijing were not an 'exclusive one'-SL

27 May 2013 01:17 pm - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Beijing on Monday on a 4-day state visit, his sixth, with Colombo saying that its ties with Beijing were not an "exclusive one" and would not harm interests of others.

This is Rajapaksa's first visit after the new leadership headed by Xi Jinping assumed power.

China was expected to announce more aid for various development projects in Sri Lanka in addition to heavy infrastructure projects like Hambantota port in Rajapaksa's home town.

Colombo will embrace China's rise, and its friendship with Beijing is "not an exclusive one" and wouldn't harm the interests of other countries, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, G L Peiris said in an interview.

"China has contributed very significantly to our economic development by assisting us with infrastructure after the eradication of terrorism," Peiris said.

Sri Lanka perceives China's rise as an opportunity, while some of China's neighbours remain skeptical toward Beijing's growing power, state-run Global Times said, referring to India's concerns over growing influence of China in the island nation.

The close ties between Sri Lanka and China have raised suspicions among other powers like India that it may be used against them, the report said.

In his interview to the daily, Peiris said such fears "have no foundation".

"Sri Lanka has friendly relations with other countries as well, but there has never been a conflict, because China has never sought to use her relations with Sri Lanka in order to put any other country in peril or to jeopardise interests of any other countries," he said.

As for bilateral ties, Peiris said while the political relationship is "as good as it can be," Sri Lanka hopes to expand trade ties with China by exporting more value-added goods so as to narrow its trade deficit.

The daily's report also highlighted Chinese assistance to Sri Lanka to enable Colombo to crush the LTTE.

Sri Lanka will benefit from the shift in the world's economic gravity to the Pacific Rim, Peiris said, noting that China is becoming a power which is more outward-looking and that this could benefit the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Over 70 per cent of China's imported energy resources go through the Indian Ocean.

Peiris noted that Sri Lanka has no apprehensions or fears of China's rise.

"On the contrary, we think that as China's position becomes stronger in the world, Sri Lanka could benefit from that, because of the nature and quality of our relationship," he said.

China backs Sri Lanka in Colmbo's efforts to ward off pressure from the international community over probe into the killings of civilians during the last stages of the war against LTTE.

In March, China supported Sri Lanka against a US-backed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, while India backed the resolution.

China has provided loans to the war-ravaged country to develop infrastructure and Chinese enterprises are active in building highways, railroad systems, harbours as well as energy facilities in the country.

More Chinese aid was expected to be announced for various projects in Sri Lanka. (PTI)
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  Comments - 12

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  • Loku Sadu Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:02 AM

    China is the best and only friend we have
    can't Go to west Due to Tamil Issue
    Cant Go to India Due to Tamil Issue
    Cant Go To Mideast Due to Muslim Issue
    and where to Go darling

    kumaraya Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:04 AM

    For us, everything is a joke. But time will tell that ths is going to be worse than being under the Portuguese, Dutch and the Brits. !

    Oh, we fools!!

    manoj Tuesday, 28 May 2013 03:42 AM

    if we get muslim alquaida here in SL. We might have few friends in the west!!

    mudalali Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:16 AM

    Sri Lanka has no fears. India has. Chinese leader visited India. Good friend could have visited here too. Never mind, may be the state of the art diplomacy. Invite new Chinese leader to visit Sri Lanka.Shouldn't it be an exclusive one?

    Ajithkumar Tuesday, 28 May 2013 06:55 AM

    We don't need to go anywhere, if we resolve our issues...

    R.Dias Monday, 27 May 2013 04:15 PM

    I have been struggling for the last 10 minutes to find words to describe about EAM statement...hik..hik..hik..

    Kith udugamamakitht Monday, 27 May 2013 01:35 PM

    Cheena Patas Patas patas !!!

    Ampattan Tuesday, 28 May 2013 07:25 PM

    China is the only country our President can visit without protest and marches. China is the only country who will lend us. China is the only country who will tolerate our lies. God bless China.

    ase Tuesday, 28 May 2013 06:12 AM

    ja dam goodies, the boss china up up and away to germany so i belive good friends never ????

    Naman Tuesday, 28 May 2013 09:31 PM

    What are your issues?
    There is only one nation one religion and one language???
    Is it right?

    Yuri Monday, 27 May 2013 02:30 PM

    This is called Begging in style... gangnam Style...

    ase Tuesday, 28 May 2013 06:18 AM

    ja ja if the friend-ship is an exclusive one the boss china will not visit germany while our boss visits him or have i mistaken any thing this is what i belive hahooooooooo..


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