Following a special request by Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on behalf of Sri Lankan medical students awaiting to return to China to complete their studies, State Councillor and Foreign Minister WANG Yi immediately instructed the Ambassador of China in Sri Lanka to work closely with the Foreign Ministry to facilitate the return of Sri Lankan medical students.
The matter was discussed during the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Rajapaksa and the visiting Foreign Minister at Temple Trees this morning. Currently, approximately 1,200 medical students, including 400 final-year students, who were studying at Chinese medical institutions, are waiting to return to China to complete their studies. They have been unable to return due to restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic. In response to the Prime Minister’s special request, Foreign Minister Yi assured that Sri Lankan students will be given highest priority.
During the bilateral discussions between the two delegations, a host of other matters were also discussed, including further support for the vaccine program, attracting investments to the Port City and the Hambantota Industrial Zone, increasing tourism from China to Sri Lanka, increasing Sri Lankan exports to China and enhancing cultural cooperation, especially in the area of Buddhist ties.
Following the discussions, the delegations signed the following agreements:
- Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation
- Letter of Exchange on the Project of Subsidized Housing for Low Income Category in Colombo
- Handover Certificate of the Technical Cooperation Project for BMICH
- Handover Certificate of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Kidney Disease Mobile Screening Ambulance Vehicles
Foreign Minister Yi is on a one-day visit to Sri Lanka to launch the celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of Sri Lanka—China bilateral relations. Last year the Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued a commemorative coin to mark the 65th anniversary as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. A set of the coins were gifted to the visiting Foreign Minister by the Prime Minister. Conveying best wishes from the President and Premier of China to Prime Minister Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister Yi said, “China will continue to do its best to provide all the necessary help and support [to Sri Lanka].”
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Opening Remarks
Good morning, Your Excellency and welcome once again to Sri Lanka. Your last visit to Sri Lanka was exactly two years ago, and I’m happy to see you return. I believe these regular high-level visits help reaffirm our strong and friendly relations.
This year is an important year for our two countries. It marks the 65th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations and 70 years of signing the Rubber-Rice Pact. Allow me to also congratulate the Communist Party of China on its 100th anniversary. As you know, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued a commemorative coin to mark these important milestones.
Excellency, I want to thank the Government and the friendly people of China for the generous support towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The consistent supply of the Sinopharm vaccines made a significant contribution to our successful vaccine program.
As you know, similar to many other countries, Sri Lanka’s economy was also greatly impacted by the pandemic. We appreciate China’s assistance towards our economic revival and financial stability. There is still a long way to go in establishing normalcy, but we’re confident that with support from friendly countries like China, we will be able to overcome these challenges soon. I look forward to continue working closely with you and the Government of China in addressing common challenges.