News

Gen. Wei meets President, PM, Commander

  • MR requests for support for ‘investor confidence rebuilding’

  • Military assistance gratis to the tune of Renminbi 50 m

 

Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe had held bilateral discussions with both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (28), during the first day of his official two-day visit to Sri Lanka.

A statement by the President’s Media Division (PMD) said Gen. Wei had noted that fruitful discussions had been held with the President, saying further that the relations between the two countries have been strengthened due to the visit. Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundara and Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prof. Jayanath Colombage had also been present at the discussions.

Following the meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, Gen. Wei had met with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa later in the day. Government sources told The Morning that State Minister of National Security and Disaster Management Chamal Rajapaksa had also been present at the meeting.

“I think we can agree that it has now become very clear to the entire world that vaccines will be the only way to overcome this pandemic. On that front, on behalf of all Sri Lankans, I extend my sincere appreciation for the generous donation of 600,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE) since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to China’s continued support in dealing with this crisis,” Premier Rajapaksa had stated, addressing Gen. Wei.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa had also requested Gen. Wei for China’s continued support in rebuilding investor confidence in Sri Lanka, as one of Sri Lanka’s “main priorities” in its post-pandemic economic recovery efforts is to attract foreign investments.

Gen. Wei was welcomed at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) by Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva.

“Although we did not discuss the matter of the Colombo Port City, we did discuss many areas of interest regarding the militaries of both the countries and our relationship,” Gen. Silva told The Morning yesterday.

It was also reported that Gen. Wei had stated that China would provide another Renminbi 50 million as military assistance gratis to Sri Lanka.

In October 2020, Chinese Communist Party Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Director Yang Jiechi visited Colombo, making Gen. Wei the second high-ranking Chinese official to visit the island since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

His visit comes at a time when the Supreme Court (SC) received many petitions challenging the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill on grounds of constitutionality and sovereignty. The Chinese Embassy launched a number of public diplomacy campaigns in favour of the Port City this week. The Parliament is due to announce the special determination of the five-judge SC bench that heard the petitions next week.

Gen. Wei is scheduled to visit three locations today (29) as part of his official visit.