China’s new Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong presented his credentials to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today.
During a brief discussion afterward, the President expressed his satisfaction over the long-standing mutual benefit and lasting cooperation and friendship between Sri Lanka and China.
“China has been instrumental in Sri Lanka's infrastructure development, especially after winning the fight against separatism. Colombo Port City, Hambantota Port, Southern Expressway are some of them. Some criticized this cooperation between China and Sri Lanka. Their argument was that these projects were not effective. The truth is that it is not. Projects initiated with the support of China have high revenue and job creation potential. My intention is to reap the maximum benefits of these schemes before the end of the term,” the President said.
President Rajapaksa also said that Sri Lanka has made it a priority to attract investment instead of further foreign borrowing in its development efforts.
“There are vast investment opportunities in our country. The field of agriculture, communication technology and education are special among them. The livelihood of about 30% of the population of Sri Lanka is based on rural agriculture. My main goal is to bring about the kind of rural development that Sri Lanka has achieved over the past two or three decades and to uplift the living standards of the rural population in Sri Lanka. Help us to do that,” President Rajapaksa told the new Chinese Ambassador.
In response, the Chinese Ambassador said his government was ready to make the maximum possible contribution to the success of Sri Lanka's economic and social development efforts.
The Ambassador said that his aim was to further develop the long-standing friendship between the two countries and strengthen development and strategic cooperation.
“After you took office, you united the people of Sri Lanka. When the COVID-19 came, we saw how the Sri Lankan government and people faced it together,” the new Ambassador said. He also said that China wants to see Sri Lanka emerge as a prosperous country.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary to the President P.B Jayasundera, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Deputy Head of the Chinese Embassy Hu Wei (Hu Wei) and the political head of Chong Luo (Luo Chong) were also present.