Beijing: China is willing to cement ties with Sri Lanka by deepening cooperation in areas like trade and economy as the island nation has emerged Beijing`s close ally in recent years, a top CPC official said on Tuesday.
Liu Yunshan of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) held talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo and lauded the smooth development of the bilateral ties since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1957.
Upgrading bilateral ties to the strategic cooperative partnership, a decision made by the two sides during the Sri Lanka leader`s visit to China in May, has marked the future direction of the China-Sri Lanka relationship, Liu said.
He thanked Sri Lanka for its long-term support on issues involving China`s core interests.
Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said China is happy to see national reconciliation, economic development and the improvement in people`s livelihood in Sri Lanka in recent years.
China is willing to join Sri Lanka in maintaining high- level visits, deepening trade and economic cooperation, and promoting exchanges in education, technology, culture and media so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples, the CPC official was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
Speaking of the inter-party relations, Liu said the CPC would like to work with the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party to expand their exchanges, and inject fresh vitality into bilateral cooperation.
Rajapaksa said his country spoke highly of the traditional friendship between the two countries and China`s long-term assistance and support.
Sri Lanka looks forward to closer inter-party interactions, media exchanges and practical cooperation in economy, tourism and other sectors with the Chinese side, he said.