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Sri Lankan President discusses debt restructuring with visiting Chinese FM

Recalling the "profound friendship" between the two countries, Wang Yi said that he was pleased to be back in Sri Lanka and said that China would always support Sri Lanka as a close friend.

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Colombo, Jan 9 (UNI) Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Sunday discussed the possibility of debt restructuring as a solution to the economic crisis gripping the country, with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

During the meeting at the Presidential Secretariat on Sunday, President Rajapaksa “pointed out that it would be a great relief to the country if attention could be paid on restructuring the debt repayments as a solution to the economic crisis that has arisen in the face of the Covid- 19 pandemic”.

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He also said that if a concessional trade credit scheme could be initiated for imports from China it would enable the industries to operate smoothly, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.

Minister Wang Yi extended an invitation to the President to visit China and expressed confidence that the visit would take place in the near future.

Earlier, warmly welcoming the Chinese Foreign Minister, President Rajapaksa recalled the historic close ties between the two countries and expressed thanks for the material and financial assistance received from China for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recalling the “profound friendship” between the two countries, Wang Yi said that he was pleased to be back in Sri Lanka and said that China would always support Sri Lanka as a close friend.

Saying that Sri Lanka has opened up again to foreign tourists under new normalization, the President requested Wang Yi to assist in attracting Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka under the bio-bubble concept.

Earlier, the Chinese FM met Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, during which the two dignitaries discussed the logistics of facilitating the return of the Sri Lankan medical students to China, and other issues, including tourism, investments, COVID-19 relief and post pandemic preparedness.

The Prime Minister thanked China and her people for the continued support to Sri Lanka.

“As both our nations celebrate 65 years of bilateral relations, I am hopeful that this relationship we share will only grow and be strengthened in the years to come, ” the Prime Minister said.

PM’s Mahinda Rajapaksa tweeted: “Had a very pleasant meeting with the Foreign Min of #China. Discussions centered around the logistics of facilitating the return of the many #lka med students to China. Also discussed were a host of issues inc Tourism, investments,#COVID19SL relief & post Covid preparedness.”

“I thanked #China and her people for the continued support to #lka. As both our nations celebrate 65 years of bilateral relations, I am hopeful that this relationship we share will only grow & be strengthened in the years to come,” the Premier had added.

Following the discussions, the delegations signed the following agreements:

Agreement on Economic and Technical CooperationLetter of Exchange on the Project of Subsidized Housing for Low Income Category in ColomboHandover Certificate of the Technical Cooperation Project for BMICH

Handover Certificate of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Kidney Disease Mobile Screening Ambulance Vehicles

The meeting between the two sides comes as a thaw in relations following the row over the shipment of rejected Chinese fertiliser.

Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of Sri Lanka has informed the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka of its request to be taken off the blacklist by the Embassy’s Economic and Commercial Office over the Chinese Fertilizer shipment issue.

This comes after the People’s Bank honoured the Letter of Credit obligation of USD 6.9 million to China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group.

The People’s Bank of Sri Lanka had been blacklisted by the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka for failing to make the payment according to the Letter of Credit and the contracts between the two parties.

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