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Lanks backs China’s ‘Maritime Silk Road’

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has hailed Xi’s initiative of 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR), saying it will bear significance to his country’s development. Lanka will join China’s efforts in the Silk Road trade cooperation, Rajapaksa told state-run Xinhua news agency.

Under the ambitious plan, China plans to build a maze of Silk Roads which includes revival of ancient Silk Road connecting China, Central Asia with Europe, the Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor and the MSR. The MSR, Chinese officials say, aims to connect various ports in the region to increase trade. Rajapaksa said Xi’s visit to Sri Lanka is ‘ important’ for the development of the bilateral ties, the Xinhua report said.

Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka wishes to boost cooperation with China in trade and investment, which harmonises with the framework of the 21st Century Silk Road. Since Sri Lanka ended the decade-long civil conflict in 2009, the two countries have effectively cooperated in re-construction and other sectors, said the president.

On the planned Free Trade Agreement (FTA) dialogue, Rajapaksa said, ‘Our cooperation covers many sectors including industry, energy, technology, infrastructure and tourism.’

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