Chinese President Says Sri Lanka Ties Unshakeable

February 04, 2015

China's President Xi Jinping described his country's ties with Sri Lanka as "unshakeable", indicating that Beijing did not expect the change in government in the country to have a significant impact on relations.

In a congratulatory message to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on the occasion of the 67th anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence, President Xi said both countries were "traditional friendly neighbours" with relations having "remained unshakeable and become firmer as time goes by", the State-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The unexpected ousting of Mahinda Rajapaksa - under whose decade-long tenure Sri Lanka significantly deepened economic and strategic ties with China - raised questions on the future of bilateral ties, with Sirisena and new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe urging before the election for more caution in opening up the country to foreign investments.

In his message, Xi said his government attached "great importance" to ties with Sri Lanka and was ready to promote "powerful development" of their strategic partnership.

In a separate message to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang described the two countries' ties as "a paradigm for friendly coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation between neighbouring countries".

Meanwhile, President Sirisena said in his address to the nation on independence day that he will follow a "moderate" foreign policy.

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