The Prime Minister of the State Council of China will arrive in Sri Lanka on April 8. During his stay the Chinese Premier will hold discussions with President Chandrika Kumaratunga, to inaugurate the renovation of the fisheries harbour in Panadura and also visit the BMICH.
A message sent by the Chinese Premier on his visit to Sri Lanka says `The hard-working and kind-hearted Sri Lankan people have, through efforts over hundreds and thousands of years, created a brilliant civilization on this beautiful land. They have also won the struggle for national independence and liberation and made remarkable achievements on the road of national development, for which the Chinese Government and people wish to express their heart-felt congratulations.
`China and Sri Lanka have always been good neighbours and the two peoples have enjoyed friendly exchanges for more than 2000 years. In 410 A.D, Fa Xian, an eminent Chinese monk of Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.), travelled across the high seas to Sri Lanka in his pursuit of the essence of Buddhism.
In modern and contemporary histories, the Chinese and Sri Lankan peoples sympathized with and supported each other. As an ancient Chinese saying goes `A friend in need is a friend indeed`. The Chinese people will never forget that, in 1952, the Sri Lankan Government daringly signed the Trade Agreement on Rice and Rubber with China in defiance of Western pressure, lending a generous hand to the Chinese people who were in great difficulty.
`When Sri Lanka was struck by a severe tsunami at the end of last year, the Chinese government and people took it as our own misfortune and provided timely assistance within our capacity, a new testament to the deep-rooted China-Sri Lanka friendship, which keeps growing stronger as time goes by. We sincerely hope that the assistance from the Chinese people could help heal the wounds of the affected and rebuild their homeland as soon as possible.
`For many years, the good-neighbourly friendship and cooperation between China and Sri Lanka have developed smoothly on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence The two countries have exchanged frequent high-level visits, conducted effective and fruitful cooperation in economy, trade and other areas, and maintained contacts and cooperation on international and regional issue. All the successive Sri Lankan Governments have supported the Chinese side on such major questions as Taiwan, Tibet and human rights for which we express our sincere appreciation.
`The Chinese Government firmly adheres to our policy of friendship and partnership with neighbouring countries and cherishes the traditional friendship with Sir Lanka. I am looking forward to stepping on the beautiful land, feeling the friendly sentiments of the people and discussing with the leaders of Sri Lanka further development of our bilateral relations.
I am convinced that, with our concerted efforts, the time-honoured China- Sri Lanka friendly relations and cooperation will surely enjoy fresh vigour and vitality in the new century.