China-Sri Lanka ties to have no effect on others: Chinese Minister

Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka. Image via Tech in Asia
The close relationship between China and Sri Lanka will have no bearing on their ties with other countries, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here today.

Yi is on a three-day official visit to Sri Lanka ahead of President Maithripala Sirisena's China visit later this month.

"There is a consensus between China and Sri Lanka that our cooperation does not target any third country nor will it affect our respective relations with other countries. We stand ready to work more closely with other regional countries for the purpose of achieving common development," Yi said in an obvious reference to India.

In the past, India has expressed some concerns over the $1.5 billion Colombo Port city project which is to be built by China on reclaimed land in the sea.

"No matter what changes in the international situation and domestic agenda, our strategic and cooperative partnership will continue to develop," the Chinese foreign minister said.

China intends to make the 21st century maritime Silk Road a priority and help Sri Lanka build itself into a shipping centre in the Indian ocean, he said.

Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera said the island was looking forward to Chinese enterprise to make contribution towards developing the Lankan economy.

Sri Lanka also expressed hope that the South China Sea dispute would be resolved through "constructive dialogue".

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