Chinese president meets Sri Lankan PM

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Beijing, April 8 (IANS) Chinese President Xi Jinping met Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe here on Friday and discussed issues of core interests.

China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to consolidate traditional friendship, expand reciprocal cooperation and push forward strategic partnership of cooperation to a new high, Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

He urged the two countries to integrate development strategies, maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen strategic communication, and handle bilateral relations from a long-term and strategic perspective.

Wickremesinghe echoed Xi saying the strategic partnership of cooperation featuring mutual support and long-lasting friendship was in the interests of both Sri Lanka and China.

It was also a consensus of all political parties in Sri Lanka, he said.

The Sri Lankan leader appreciated the positive role played by China in promoting global economic stability and growth and thanked Beijing for its long-term assistance to Colombo.

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With regard to bilateral cooperation, Xi said the two countries should take the Belt and Road Initiative as an opportunity to deepen cooperation in trade, infrastructure, industrial parks, manufacturing and technology.

China will positively consider helping Sri Lanka build health projects and was ready for more cooperation in areas such as tourism, education and culture, Xi said.

He also vowed to strengthen communication and coordination with Sri Lanka under the frameworks including the UN, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The Sri Lanka leader said Sri Lanka was willing to strengthen cooperation with China within the SAARC.

Wickremesinghe will conclude his official visit to China on Saturday.

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