Colombo, July 28 (IANS) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake has spoken highly of the proposed Belt and Road Initiative, saying that Colombo would like to see more Chinese investments.
The newly-appointed Foreign Minister told Xinhua news agency that China and Sri Lanka had maintained strong ties since ancient times, with the relationship being at its strongest level at present.
While appreciating the large-scale investments China had brought to Sri Lanka, especially since the end of a civil war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, Karunanayake said the country would benefit from more Chinese investments.
“We appreciate the investments that are coming in from China, but we would like to see much more,” he said.
While reiterating that Sri Lanka would soon be transformed into a global trading hub, Karunanayake said Colombo’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative would strengthen its trading position even further.
He said Sri Lanka was happy being a part of the Belt and Road Initiative and was implementing a ‘Sri Lanka first’ approach due to the benefits it would get from the initiative, Karunanayake said.
Proposed by China in 2013, the initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road.
China has become one of Sri Lanka’s largest development partners with infrastructure construction projects worth billions of dollars. China is also one of the major FDI sources of Sri Lanka.