President Ranil Wickremesinghe with special envoy of Chinese president, State Councillor Shen Yiqin
- President Wickremesinghe expresses SL’s readiness for second phase of BRI during a meeting with Chinese special envoy Shen Yiqin
- China expresses interest in extending China-Myanmar Economic Corridor to include Sri Lanka
- Both parties agree to expedite implementation of China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement
- President Wickremesinghe expresses gratitude for China’s support, particularly in SL’s debt restructuring programme
COLOMBO (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka has conveyed its preparedness for the second phase of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with China expressing a keen interest in extending the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) to include Sri Lanka.
This was revealed when the special envoy of the Chinese president, State Councillor Shen Yiqin, made a courtesy call on Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday in Colombo.
According to a communique issued by the President’s Media Division, Wickremesinghe has said that “countries such as Sri Lanka, participants in the BRI, are prepared to embark on the second phase of the initiative, which is expected to make a more substantial economic contribution”.
Wickremesinghe also expressed Sri Lanka’s desire to augment cooperation between the two countries in the fields of tourism, sports and agriculture. He highlighted that both the Hambantota Port and Port City are currently prepared for investment opportunities.
During the meeting, he detailed the steps taken by Sri Lanka to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and reaffirmed the country’s commitment to maintaining the Indian Ocean as a freely navigable and peaceful region, free from global geopolitical rivalries.
In response, Yiqin stated that China is also prioritising the extension of the CMEC to Sri Lanka. Additionally, both parties agreed to expedite the implementation of the China-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement.
The CMEC is a strategic economic development initiative under the broader BRI. It focuses on fostering economic cooperation and connectivity between China and Myanmar through the development of key infrastructure projects.
These projects include transportation networks, energy pipelines and other initiatives aimed at enhancing trade and economic ties between China and Myanmar.
Wickremesinghe also expressed gratitude for China’s support to Sri Lanka, notably acknowledging its assistance in the country’s debt restructuring programme. He extended sincere thanks to the Chinese president and government for their invaluable support in this regard.
Yiqin reaffirmed China’s enduring support to Sri Lanka and emphasised her commitment to strengthening the relations between the two countries.