The visiting Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa here on Tuesday, that China will not allow any outsiders to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.
In a thinly veiled reference to the Western countries’ bid to dictate terms to Sri Lanka on human rights and ethnic reconciliation at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Wang said: “We will not allow any outside influences to interfere with matters that are essentially internal concerns of Sri Lanka.”
Responding to Lankan President Gotabaya’s statement that he is striving to keep Sri Lanka independent and economically free, Wang said: “ China stands for Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. As Sri Lanka’s strategic partner, China will continue to standby Sri Lanka’s interests. As in the past, would be Sri Lanka’s longtime partner in prosperity and growth.”
Wang noted that China’s policy towards Sri Lanka had always been consistent and that it would continue to be Sri Lanka’s “reliable friend.”
President Gotabaya had earlier said: “Sri Lanka is a small country. Fortunately or not, it is geographically placed in a most strategic location. As a result, the country has to face many political challenges. The only way to overcome them is to be economically strong. Economic independence will ensure political independence.”
The Foreign Minister of Wang congratulated “China’s old friend” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his election and added that he was confident that the already existing strong bilateral relations could be further strengthened.
President Gotabaya warmly reciprocated the visiting Minister’s good wishes and revealed that he was an admirer of President Xi Jinping, especially his work in poverty alleviation. Xi’s model of poverty alleviation had been incorporated into his own manifesto, he added.
Referring to the Lankan President’s visit to China in February, the Chinese Foreign Minister said that all arrangements would be made for him to meet with relevant parties who could help Sri Lanka in the areas of technology, tourism, infrastructure and other related fields of development. The visit, he assured, will be “most productive.”
Driving home the point that China is sanguine about Sri Lanka’s progress, Wang said: “Sri Lanka may have less landmass, but it will soon be strong economically. China will be with Sri Lanka in its striving to reach this goal.”
The Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan, Vice Minister of Commerce Qian Keming, Vice Chairman of China International Development and Cooperation Agency Zhou Liujun, Secretary to the Lankan President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, honorary adviser to the President Lalith Weeratunga and the Additional Secretary to the President on International Relations Admiral Jayanath Colombage were present during the discussion.