We Seek Investments, Not Loans – President tells new Chinese Envoy
The newly appointed Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong presented his credentials to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House on 19 November.
During the discussion, President Rajapaksa expressed his satisfaction over the long-standing friendship with mutual benefits that exists between Sri Lanka and China.
“China extended its support towards Sri Lanka's infrastructure development, especially after winning the war against separatism. The Colombo Port City, the Hambantota Port and the Southern Expressway are some of the initiatives. Some segments of society criticised this cooperation. Their argument was that these projects would not bear fruits. But the truth is the opposite. Projects started with the assistance of China have high income generation and employment creation potential. My expectation is to see the completion of these projects before the end of my tenure,” President Rajapaksa said.
The President stated that Sri Lanka has made it a priority to attract investments instead of going for more foreign loans in its development drive. “There are vast investment opportunities available in our country. The agricultural sector, communication technology and education are high priority sectors. The livelihood of around 30 per cent of the population depends on agriculture. Achieving the kind of rural development that China has reached over the past two or three decades and to improve the living standards of the rural population is one of my prime objectives. We seek your assistance in this regard,” the President told the new Ambassador.
In response, Zhenhong said that his Government is ready to make the maximum possible contribution to the success of Sri Lanka's economic and social development endeavours.
He said that he aims to further enhance the long-standing friendship between the two countries and to strengthen development and strategic cooperation. “After assuming office, you united the people of Sri Lanka. You guided the country on the path of economic growth while improving the living standards of the people. We witnessed how the Government and the people of Sri Lanka stood together in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. Zhenhong also said that China wishes to see Sri Lanka emerge as a prosperous nation.