Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (R) meets with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 28, 2021. (Photo by Ajith Perera/Xinhua)
Sri Lanka and China vowed here Wednesday to enhance pragmatic cooperation in all sectors between the two countries including the military.
The pledge came after Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa met with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe.
During the meeting, the Sri Lankan president, who is also the defense minister, thanked China for providing long-term and precious support to Sri Lanka and hoped to learn the governing experience from the Communist Party of China on poverty alleviation and rural revitalization, among others.
Noting that Sri Lanka has prioritized developing the relations with China and firmly supported China's positions on issues concerning its core interests, the president said his country has been pursuing an independent foreign policy and will never bends to pressure from major powers outside the region as well as never forge an alliance with any country.
Closely following the pragmatic cooperation in the military field between the two countries, the president hoped that the two militaries will carry out closer exchanges so as to further lift the level of pragmatic cooptation.
In his meeting with Wei, the Sri Lankan prime minister said Wei and his delegation visited Sri Lanka at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still not contained, demonstrating that China attaches great importance to developing the ties with Sri Lanka.
Hailing China for its achievements made in the pandemic prevention and control, economic development and poverty alleviation, the prime minister thanked China for providing unselfish help to his country.
Sri Lanka will always be a sincere friend to China and will firmly support China's position on safeguarding its own core interests, the prime minister said.
Sri Lanka stands ready to strengthen exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with China in various fields including the military, so as to achieve further growth of the bilateral ties, he added.
For his part, Wei said that China and Sri Lanka enjoy a long history of friendship with deep bilateral relations.
The two countries are jointly working for the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road, Wei said, pointing out that they share a bright prospect of development.
The Chinese side appreciates Sri Lanka's position on issues relating to China's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and will as always support Sri Lanka's stance over issues relating to human rights and national reconciliation, Wei said.
Noting the long-lasting friendship between the two militaries, Wei called on the two sides to further deepen cooperation and promote relations between the two militaries.
Peaceful development and win-win cooperation is the global trend and the right way forward, Wei said, adding that certain major countries are keen to form cliques and factions and seek regional hegemony, which goes against people's shared aspiration and severely harms the interests of the regional countries.
China appreciates Sri Lanka's independent and non-aligned policy and will make joint efforts with Sri Lanka to strengthen coordination and safeguard regional peace and tranquility.
On Wednesday, Wei also held talks with Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne and jointly launched a website of the Chinese National Defence University Alumni Association of Sri Lanka.