Sri Lanka's major English newspaper Daily News said Friday that Premier Wen Jiabao's visit will help boost bilateral relations further, heralding in a new era of ties.
"The landmark visit will exemplify excellent diplomatic and cultural relations between the two nations," said the paper in a front page article titled "New Era of Sino-Lankan Ties."
The paper quoted Premier Wen as saying "With our concerted efforts, the time-honored China-Sri Lanka friendly relations and cooperation will surely enjoy fresh vigor and vitality in the new century."
Sri Lanka's signing of the 1952 Trade Agreement on Rice and Rubber with China in defiance of Western pressure was a landmark in ties between the two countries, said the paper, adding that the leaders of China and Sri Lanka have regularly been visiting each other's countries.
Trade ties between the two countries have grown steadily over the years and China was among the first countries that responded to Sri Lanka's call for assistance after the tsunami disaster, it said.
In an editorial titled "Big Boost for Sino-Lankan Relations," Daily News said Premier Wen's two-day visit to Sri Lanka should help in further consolidating decades-long friendly relations between the two countries.
"China and Sri Lanka interacted fruitfully in the field of Buddhism around 2000 years ago with the legendary Buddhist scholar monk from China, Fa-Hsien, having set foot on Lankan soil around that time."
Evidence is also substantial that China-Sri Lanka trade and commerce have flourished over the centuries and that they have always been characterized by friendly cooperation and camaraderie, it said.
The editorial said the post-independence years in Sri Lankan political history witnessed a marked upgrading of bilateral relations.
Sri Lanka championed the cause of China's induction into the UN system and it extended diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China at a time when some sections of the world community were on unfriendly terms with her.
"Sino-Lankan relations, therefore, could be said to have been exemplary; almost a role model in diplomatic relations between two countries," said the article.
(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2005)