Sri Lankan foreign minister to visit China

Beijing, Oct 26 (PTI) Sri Lanka s Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana will visit China next week during which the two countries are expected to firm up cooperation on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Marapana will begin his week-long tour on October 29.

“China hopes Marapana’s upcoming visit will promote the implementation of the consensus reached by the leaders of two countries, as well as the joint construction of the Belt and Road,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media here today.

This is the first visit by Marapana to China after he took over as Foreign Minister.

China which has invested about USD eight billion in Sri Lanka in the last few years in various projects wants Sri Lanka to play a major role in its 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR), which is part of the BRI.

India has reservation over the MSR as it would significantly enhance China’s presence in the Indian Ocean region, regarded as the backyard of India.

China has already secured Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port as part of debt swap and currently invested heavily in the Colombo Port project.

Sri Lanka says it will not allow its ports to be used for the Chinese military vessels.

“China also hopes Marapana’s visit will plan cooperation in politics, economy and people-to-people exchanges to push forward the strategic partnership of cooperation,” Geng said.

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