President Mahinda Rajapaksa who will be arriving in the country today from his state visit to China has witnessed the signing of eight agreements between the two countries.
However the President has failed to secure any new financial aid or grant agreement with the Chinese government during his one week state visit to China with a record delegation that included 266 members.
Although President Rajapaksa could not even witness any agreement signed between the two countries for his `pet` and much anticipated Hambantota port development project the Chinese government had pledged to fund 80 percent of the project.
During former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga`s Chinese state visit in 2005 August, the Chinese government agreed to fund the one million dollar Hambantota oil tanks project, the Norochcholai coal based power project , phosphate mining, the Colombo- Katunayake express way and the Kotte sewerage projects.
Former minister Mangala Samaraweera tried to implement the oil tank project. But President Rajapaksa blocked the move and wanted to expand that project into a Hambanthota Port development project.
Prior to President Rajapaksa`s first state visit to China, Secretary Finance Dr. P. B. Jayasundera and Secretary Foreign Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona told the media that during the Presidents` state visit, the Chinese government is going to announce the funding for the Hambantota Port development project.
Dr. Jayasundera further said that the commercial contract between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the relevant Chinese institutions have been finalised and hopefully the contracts would be signed during the President`s visit.
During President Rajapaksa`s state visit, the Sri Lankan delegation tried to secure Chinese financial support for the Hambantota Port Development Project. But they failed to finalise any agreement between the two governments.
Chinese President Hu Jintao met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Great Hall of the People,on February 27.
During the two state leaders` one hour bilateral talks,President Rajapaksa empathized the importance of the Hambantota harbour development ,which is located on a busy Asian sea route.
As revealed by The Nation last week Sri Lanka did not sign any trade agreement with China, during President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s first state visit to the Asian economic power house.
The one million US dollars huge trade deficit in favour of China is the most important trade issue between the two countries. But surprisingly Sri Lanka couldn`t address the main trade issue during President Rajapaksa`s state visit.
Total trade volume between China and Sri Lanka reached 1.44129 billion U.S. dollars in 2006, increasing by 16.9 percent over the previous year. China exported 1.10646 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods and imported 34.83 million U.S. dollars worth of goods.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Mahinda Rajapaksa witnessed the signing of eight agreements between the two countries, at the Great Hall of the People, on February 27.
Most of the agreements signed between the two countries were non significant. Even the Economic and Technical Co-operation and Bi-lateral Investment Promotion agreements were not ground breaking ones.
The agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation was signed by the Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and Sri Lanka`s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama.
The signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on Urban Development were China`s Minister of Construction Vang Tao and Sri Lanka`s Minister of Urban Development and Sacred City Development, Dinesh Gunawardena.
The Bi-lateral Agreement on Investment Promotion was signed by the Director of China`s Institute of Investment Liu Ja Jun and Secretary Finance Dr. P. B. Jayasundera.
Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary Foreign Affairs together with China`s Deputy Minister of External Affairs Tian Kai signed the Friendship Agreement between the District of Hambantota in Sri Lanka and the city of Guanshu in China.
The other Memoranda signed were with regard to Agriculture and the use of Agricultural Machinery, Co-operation in the Cinema Industry, Eye Donation and the Exchange of Students between the University of Kelaniya and the University of Foreign Studies, Beijing.
President Rajapaksa participated at the official celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka.