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Chinese Premier: China's Relationship with Sri Lanka Strong

China's policies towards Sri Lanka will remain unchanged and China valued the strong friendship between the two countries, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing Monday.

Wen said during talks with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was here for a five-day working visit that China believes the Sino-Sri Lankan friendship has a sound foundation and great potential, and concerted efforts will push forward the bilateral ties.

Recalling the long history of friendly communication between the two countries, the premier said some 2,000 years ago, sea links and Buddhism linked the two peoples together.

"The two countries also supported the other in their fight for national independence and liberation," he said.

China and Sri Lanka established diplomatic ties 46 years ago. Since then mutual trust has deepened and the exchanges and cooperation in all areas expanded, Wen said, and the relationship "withstands the test of time and changes."

As reliable and cooperative partners, Wen proposed the two sides consolidate and develop the traditional bilateral friendship, maintain high-level visits, strengthen contacts between the two parliaments, governments, political parties and non-governmental sectors.

He also suggested strengthening trade links by new channels. The two governments should encourage enterprises to seek development, investment, project contracting and resource development.

The two countries can also promote cooperation in agriculture and tourism, he said.

Wen also urged enhancing bilateral coordination in international affairs to meet the challenges brought about by the variable international situation and safeguard the rights and interests of developing countries.

After the talks, Wen and Wickremesinghe attended the signing ceremony, in which officials with the two governments signed three inter-governmental agreements for economic and technological cooperation, avoiding dual taxation and tax evasion and providing preferential loans to Sri Lanka.

The two foreign ministries signed an agreement on bilateral consultation.

Also signed was a document on creating sister cities between Shanghai, China's commercial and financial hub, and Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka.
(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2003)

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Sri Lankan PM to Visit China
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