Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to begin economic relationships with China, with the signing of the historic China, Sri Lanka Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952.Speaker Jayasuriya participating at the fifth anniversary of unveiling the Belt and Road Initiative, said China is the second largest economy in the world - second in terms of nominal GDP and this has obviously added much vigour to the dynamics of the fast unfolding economic development narrative of the 21st century Asia.
The event was held in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka and the Organisation for South Asian Friendship and Cooperation with China (OSARFCC) at the Galadari Hotel yesterday.The Speaker said there is a very important fact that clearly stands out when it comes to Sri Lanka’s relations with China. It is the fact that China has always been direct, open, and consistent in its approach and the contributions from China have always been productive with tangible and visible results.
Megalopolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the intensity of those religious and cultural relationships, which have been highlighted in the historical chronicles of both countries, go onto signify the strong trade and economic ties that the two countries had been enjoying at the time, mainly through the maritime silk route.
Sri Lanka had indeed been a maritime trading hub throughout history and the Chinese merchant ships had been frequenting ancient Sri Lankan ports at Galle, Trincomalee, Mannar and Beruwala, Minister Ranawaka added.
Minister Patali Champika further said that tradition of country-to-country and people-to-people relationship that has been in existence between the two countries for most part of the past two millennia.
Trade and maritime relationships with China had been at an intense level during the four and half centuries beginning from the late tenth century, the period during which China was indisputably the greatest maritime nation in the world, Minister Ranawaka said.
Ranawaka said that, last year a grand wedding ceremony for the marriage of 50 Chinese couples was held here symbolizing their historic lineage to Sri Lanka and, in the meantime, making it an opportunity to promote cross border cross cultural ties between the peoples of China and Sri Lanka.
ina’s Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan said there are endless stories and wonderful prospects for the friendship and cooperation between China and Sri Lanka.“We believe that China - Sri Lanka relations will usher in a more beautiful and bright future.As a Chinese saying goes, the relationship between two countries is based on the affection between two countries’ civilians,”the Ambassador said.