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China; Sri Lanka: Sixteen New Agreements Concluded

(Sept. 25, 2012) Wu Bangguo, the Chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, visited Sri Lanka September 15-18, 2012. Following his meetings with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the two countries signed 16 new agreements. The agreements cover a wide range of topics, with some focusing on infrastructure development in such areas as transportation, tourism, telecommunications, and ports. Also among the pacts signed were agreements to fund a number of projects in Sri Lanka, including energy projects, the Colombo Lotus Tower Project, the Mobile Network Expansion Project, and the second phase of the Hambantota Port Development Project. (Sri Lanka, China Sign 16 New Agreements, COLOMBO PAGE (Sept. 18, 2012).)

The two countries also signed an agreement that holders of diplomatic, service, official, or public affairs passports from either country would not need a visa to visit the other country, as well as several memorandums of understanding on cooperation in coastal and marine matters and in finance. (Id.)

Wu praised the recent progress that Sri Lanka has made and added that China would continue to extend aid. He stated, “China-Sri Lanka relations are now at the best period of development in history.” (China’s Top Legislator Meets Sri Lankan President on Bilateral Ties, ENGLISH NEWS.CN (Sept. 17, 2012).) The meeting and the agreements were designed to strengthen ties between the two nations. (Id.)