- 600 million RMB (Rs.16.5 billion) grant from China for livelihood support
- Pledges support to SL at UNHRC in Geneva
By Kelum Bandara
China responded positively to Sri Lanka’s request to cooperate in the provision of a vaccine being developed by it against COVID-19, a diplomatic source said yesterday.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is reported to have requested for this when a top level Chinese delegation led by Yang Jiechi who is a member of the politburo of the Communist Party of China called on him yesterday.
Mr. Yang is the highest Chinese official in terms of protocols as far as foreign relations are concerned in that country. The delegation led by him was in the country for 18 hours and interacted with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Prime Minister.
A diplomatic source said seven vaccine candidates qualified for human trial at the level of stage 3, and four of them were from China. According the source, one vaccine is already in use for urgent requirements. The members of the delegation that arrived in the country have also been vaccinated against the virus. “The Chinese side responded positively to Sri Lanka’s request. Once the vaccine is developed and approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), they will consider cooperation with Sri Lanka,” the source said. Besides, during the visit, the Finance Ministry signed an agreement with China International Development Agency to get 600 million RMB grant (Rs.16.5 billion) for livelihood development in the country. The President and the Prime Minister sought investment from China in the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Industrial Party. The Chinese side responded positively in this instance. Also, the delegation gave positive response to the President’s request for a technology university in Hambantota.
The delegation led by Mr. Yang also promised to support Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. Mr. Yang served as the Chinese Foreign Minister between 2007 and 2013. At that time, he supported Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva. He also ensured support of some African countries to Sri Lanka.
The diplomatic source said the delegation followed strict health protocols in the country. They got their PCR testing within 24 hours before departure form Sri Lanka. They wore face masks and kept social distancing. They arrived in a chartered flight. The crew members also stayed at a quarantine hotel.
Members of the delegation that arrived in the country have also been vaccinated against the virus