Sri Lankan ambassador discusses China's development challenge

By Zhou Jing
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, March 4, 2011
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In an exclusive interview with on March 3, Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunatilaka Amunugama discussed his travels within the country and his expectations in attending the annual sessions of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC).

Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunatilaka Amunugama [Photo: Chen Lin /] 

One of the most important issues to be discussed at this year's sessions was regional imbalances, Amunugama said. On a recent tour of Qinghai and Gansu provinces in northwest China, the ambassador observed that the government has been looking for ways to accelerate growth in underdeveloped regions. The ambassador noted that in his travels, he noticed various factors can contribute to urban development.

"Inner Mongolia is one of the largest provinces in China with a very small population. Its Erdos is a newly emerging city with its per-capita GDP reaching as high as US$30,000. It is a very rich city because they have a lot of coal and minerals," Amunugama said. Gansu, he said in comparison, "has well-established schools and hospitals, but it doesn't have many [natural] resources. So the development of those particular counties or cities doesn't necessarily reflect people's incomes." The ambassador said he believed that this point would be brought up during this week's sessions.

"We would like to see China become more global and work with the international community on common issues," Amunugama said.

China has had the tradition of allowing foreign ambassadors to observe its CPPCC and NPC sessions to promote understanding of the country's policy deliberations in the international community.

The CPPCC is a very important part of people's lives, Amunugama said, because it discusses "what the country needs at the village level and also the national level."

"We can listen to what Chinese leaders think of the past as well as the future. These [issues] are not only important to Chinese people, they are also important to the international community, particularly Asian countries," Amunugama said.

"We are looking forward to seeing the opening ceremony," Amunugama told prior to the start of this year's CPPCC session.

This year saw the 63rd celebration of Sri Lanka's Independence, which fell on February 4, and it will also mark the 54th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka. On March 10, the Sri Lankan embassy will hold its National Day celebrations in Beijing.

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