Posted on January 17th, 2021


China, unlike India is getting on just fine in South Asia. China has held three multilateral dialogues with South Asian countries. The first in July, 2020 was attended by Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. At this dialogue, China proposed extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, as well as taking forward an economic corridor plan with Nepal, called the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network. China said the four countries were connected by mountains and rivers”.  

This dialogue was followed by a second meeting in November 2020 attended by China, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The third dialogue was held virtually in January, brought together every country in the region except India, Bhutan and the Maldives. Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh attended. Pakistan and Nepal are emerging as supports in China’s regional strategy, observed analysts.

China’s economy continues to be strong. Chinas trustbusters are investigating Alibaba. China now leads in e-commerce, said Economist. China has very advanced online shopping platforms which blend digital payments, group deals, social media, gaming, instant messaging, short form videos and live streaming celebrities. This model is followed in India and Latin America. Retailers everywhere should look to China.

China’s relations with Sri Lanka are also excellent. China has minted a coin for the Central Bank to celebrate its 70th anniversary. This is the first coin minted in China for Central Bank.  It was done by China Banknote Printing and Minting. It is a limited edition commemorative 20-rupee Aluminum Bronze collector coin. The first coin was officially presented to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, by CB Governor Prof. W D Lakshman on December 31, 2020.  Some coins were sold to the public on January 1 for Rs.1300.

The Colombo branch of the Bank of China is in its second year and it is doing well. A plan to start a second branch in Hambantota is on hold due to the pandemic. A major Chinese bank was badly needed in view of the strong investment and trade relations between our two countries. We have among our clientele some of the leading names of Sri Lanka.

We also actively assist Sri Lankan companies to participate in major investment and export promotion fairs conducted in China, create match making” links between local and Chinese companies, providing access to China’s export, import and the investment sources. Our assistance is also frequently sought and happily given to local Banks who need assistance with the Chinese language when dealing with other Chinese financial institutions, said the Bank.

In January 2021, Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong thanked Sri Lanka for standing by China during the COVID-19 crisis and said that China was committed to helping Sri Lanka overcome the pandemic.

We will never forget that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa gifted Ceylon Tea to China, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa organized a pirit ceremony to invoke blessings on the people of Wuhan, while all Sri Lankan friends from different religions and ethnic groups have been praying for China, the ambassador said.

China declared the people of China and Sri Lanka have a history of friendly exchanges for nearly two thousand years and thus the two countries have the ability conduct relations without the interference of a third party. The two countries could continue strengthening strategic communication, expanding practical cooperation, and jointly bringing China-Sri Lanka relations to a higher level in the years to come.

China also said it had no problem with Sri Lanka having diplomatic relations with other countries. As a sincere friend of the Sri Lankan people, China is happy to see the island developing healthy relations with other countries. China believes that all countries, regardless of size, have the right to independently develop foreign relations based on their own interests.(continued)

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