China-Sri Lanka ties: ‘No one should interfere in China-Lanka ties’

What is the News? The Chinese Foreign Minister is on a visit to Sri Lanka. The visit marks the 70th anniversary of the historic Rubber-Rice Pact and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka ties.

Note: The Rubber-Rice Pact was signed in 1952 in the wake of the food crisis in Sri Lanka. Under the Pact, China supplied rice to Sri Lanka at lower than market prices and purchased rubber, which was the only exportable commodity of Sri Lanka at that time, at prices higher than international prices.
What are the key highlights of the Chinese Foreign Minister visit on China-Sri Lanka ties?

Firstly, he said that no “third country” should “interfere” in China-Sri Lanka ties. This was in reference to India’s concerns over China’s strategic projects in Sri Lanka.

Secondly, he proposed a Forum on the development of Indian Ocean island Countries” to build consensus and synergy, and promote common development.

Thirdly, the Sri Lankan President has urged China to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt and help the country cope with the economic strain. Currently,  Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis of a persisting dollar crunch, soaring living costs and a shortage of essentials in the import-reliant island nation.

Fourthly, he said that the two sides should make good use of “the two engines”, referring to the China-backed Colombo Port City in Colombo and the Hambantota Port on the island’s Southern Province. He also urged Sri Lanka to tap the opportunities of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP).

Source: This post is based on the article “No one should interfere in China-Lanka ties” published in The Hindu on 11th January 2022.

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