Connect with us

news

China takes bilateral relations with Lanka to a higher level

Published

on

Prez, PM assured maximum support, realization of development goals

By Shamindra Ferdinando

China yesterday (9) reiterated its commitment to supporting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s development objectives envisaged in his 2019 presidential election manifesto.

The assurance was given by senior Chinese leader and top foreign policy official Yang Jiechi, who is a member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and the director of its Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Commission, the top policy-making body.

The seven-member Chinese delegation led by Jiechi arrived in Colombo, on Thursday night, for meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Having met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at the Presidential Secretariat, the Chinese delegation met Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees, where they discussed matters of mutual interest. All major Chinese investment projects were launched during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency.

The UNP objected to the visit of the Chinese delegation, claiming that its members had not undergone quarantine unlike other foreigners. Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi acknowledged that the meetings would take place without following quarantine process.

A statement issued by the President’s Office yesterday evening quoted Jiechi as having assured the Sri Lankan leader that China would continuously back Sri Lanka to achieve development. Jiechi also assured that China would stand by Sri Lanka at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as well as other international platforms.

The visit takes place amidst fresh corona eruption in Sri Lanka while relations between China and the US and China and India are fragile whereas the US seeks to expand its role in Sri Lanka with the finalization of the MCC Compact, having extended ACSA (Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement) in Aug 2017.

Declaring that bilateral relations were at an extremely cordial level, the leader of the delegation said that Chinese President Xi Jinping considered further improvement of China-Sri Lanka relations a priority.

The Chinese delegation is on a tour of four countries in the Asian region. Sri Lanka was their first destination. They left Colombo yesterday.

President Rajapaksa recalled continuous Chinese support provided to Sri Lanka regardless of the party in power. The President appreciated the support received by Sri Lanka during the war that was brought to a successful conclusion in May 2009. Declaring that China-Sri Lanka relations had seen further improvement in the post-war period, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa thanked China for backing infrastructure development in the country.

Referring to several large Chinese funded projects, including the Hambantota port, Colombo Port City, the Southern Expressway, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dismissed assertions that Sri Lanka had been caught in a Chinese debt trap.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested for Chinese help to realize his dream of proving such large scale projects helped improve living standards of the people.

Recollecting he had been to China on 13 occasions before winning the presidency in Nov 2019, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that he wanted to achieve Chinese style development especially in Sri Lanka’s rural areas.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also requested China to increase the volume of imports from Sri Lanka as the trade balance was very much in favour of China.

The statement quoted President Rajapaksa as having said that the Chinese delegation was asked to allow more Sri Lankan products, more Chinese tourists, explore the possible participation in Colombo tea auctions and invest in a specialized university to promote technology education here.

The delegations agreed to resume talks on a free trade agreement and to fully operationalize the Hambantota Industrial Zone.

Chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency Wang Xiaotao, Assistant Foreign Minister of China Deng Lee, Hu Wei, Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, Chen Song, Deputy Director General of Department of Asian Affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Designate to China Dr. Palitha Kohona were also present at the discussion.

news

Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

Published

on

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

Continue Reading

news

Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

Continue Reading

news

SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

Published

on

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

Continue Reading

Trending