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Lankan Foreign Minister on maiden visit to China on Friday

Lankan Foreign Minister on maiden visit to China on Friday

Lankan Foreign Minister Samaraweera will kick off his visit with talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Beijing: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will embark on his maiden visit to China on Friday to hold talks with the top leadership in Beijing on some of the big- ticket Chinese investments, including the USD 1.5 billion Colombo port project that is being reviewed by his government.

Samaraweera will kick off his visit with talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and later meet the Chinese leadership, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told in Beijing.

"We hope that through this visit, we can have an in-depth exchange of views with the Sri Lankan side on the development of bilateral relations and blueprint high-level visits and cooperation in various fields so that China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperation partnership can make further progress," he said.

Samaraweera is visiting China on a two-day trip, taking place in the backdrop of the new Sri Lankan government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena that announced the review of the Colombo Port Project, especially its environmental impact as it will be built on reclaimed land.

China made huge strides in its ties with Sri Lanka in recent years under the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during whose tenure Beijing stepped up big-ticket investments. Rajapaksa was the first to announce support for the multi-billion dollar Maritime Silk Road project initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The project raised concerns in India. Samaraweera was the first Sri Lankan official to visit India after regime change in Colombo.

first published:February 26, 2015, 20:39 IST