The year 2021 is an extraordinary one in the history of China-Sri Lanka relations, Qi Zhenhong, Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka said yesterday issuing a statement marking the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“In the past year, China has in total provided Sri Lanka 26 million doses of vaccines, numerous medical supplies, and billions of dollars as financial support to fight the epidemic and revitalise its economy. The two countries have made breakthroughs in mega projects such as Port City Colombo and Hambantota Port. The bilateral trade increased 61% year-on-year in the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, we have firmly supported each other in the international fora including human rights and COVID-19 origins-tracing, which has further deepened China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership,” he said.
Given below is his statement in full: “On the auspicious occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka, I would like to wish our country prosperity and progress, our people health and happiness, and best regards to all of our Chinese fellow citizens working, studying and living in Sri Lanka! I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our Sri Lankan friends from all walks of life who have always been following and supporting the development of China and China-Sri Lanka relations!
“This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China. Under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we have realised the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China. In the face of the severe challenges brought by COVID-19, we have made concerted and society-wide efforts, and achieved a major strategic outcome in fighting the pandemic. In the meantime, we are grounding our efforts in the new development stage, applying the new development philosophy, and creating a new pattern of development, as China’s GDP registers an increase of 12.7% and foreign trade grows 27.1% year-on-year in the first half of 2021.
“We have landed out first rover on Mars, broken the deep-sea sediment core retrieval record, successfully sent the astronauts to the newest space station, and won hundreds of medals in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. That the Five-Starred Red Flags being raised time after time makes all Chinese nationals deeply proud.
“We have taken up the responsibility and leadership as a major country, donating funds and supplies to help the international community fight the COVID-19 pandemic. China will strive to provide a total of two billion doses of vaccines to the world by the end of this year. In addition to donating 100 million US dollars to COVAX, we will donate 100 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries in the course of this year. In addition, China has been working with partner countries and overcame difficulties brought by the pandemic, to promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road. We also stand with the international community to altogether deal with common challenges, resolutely uphold the international fairness and justice, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
“This year 2021 is also an extraordinary one in the history of China-Sri Lanka relations. President Xi Jinping and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa have provided new strategic guidance for the further deepening of China-Sri Lanka relations through several phone calls and correspondence. Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa virtually attended the same international forum together. Chairman of Chinese NPC Li Zhanshu and Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena held a fruitful online meeting, while the two countries’ foreign, defence, commercial chiefs also maintained close communication. The political and strategic mutual trust between China and Sri Lanka has reached a new height.
“In the past year, China has in total provided Sri Lanka 26 million doses of vaccines, numerous medical supplies, and billions of dollars as financial support to fight the epidemic and revitalize its economy. The two countries have made breakthroughs in mega projects such as Port City Colombo and Hambantota Port. The bilateral trade increased 61% year-on-year in the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, we have firmly supported each other in the international fora including human rights and COVID-19 origins-tracing, which has further deepened China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership.
“We are very much proud when looking back, while we are even more confident forging ahead. The year 2022 will witness the historic moment of the CPC’s 20th National Congress, as well as the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact. Let’s work together and continue to contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and bring our bilateral relations to a new level.”
Vasu defends constituents’ right to differ
Prez chairs govt. group meeting:
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has strongly defended the right of the SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) constituents’ to take up contentious issues in public.
Minister Nanayakkara told SLPP parliamentary group meeting at the President’s House on Sunday night (24) that their right to differ on matters of public interest shouldn’t be questioned.
Nanayakkara said so when Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena and MP Tissa Kuttiarachchi faulted some constituent parties for dissenting views on certain issues.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was present at the meeting chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The meeting lasted for about two hours.
The SLPP held Sunday’s meet in the wake of some constituent parties of the ruling coalition asking for a discussion on the questionable agreement between the government and the US New Fortress Energy Company over the Yugadanavi power plant, etc. Sources said that initially, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa indicated that the issue could be discussed with the Premier but subsequently arrangements were made for the Sunday’s meeting.
The New Fortress recently announced that a definitive agreement had been executed for the external investment in West Coast Power Limited (WCP).
WCP owns the 310 megawatts Yugadanavi Power Plant based in Colombo. The deal is also for the rights to develop a new LNG Terminal off the coast of Colombo. In terms of the agreement, New Fortress will acquire a 40 per cent ownership stake in WCP. The US energy firm plans to build an offshore LNG terminal located off the coast of Colombo.
Minister Nanayakkara has said it is not unusual for members of a coalition to hold different views depending on the issues as they also represent the interests of the public.
Nanayakkara has pointed out how the left parties remained with the UPFA though they didn’t agree with the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to enact the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Parliament passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with a two-thirds majority on 08 Sept. 2010, enabling the President to seek a third term among other things.
The SLPP constituents have differed with the government on several issues such as fuel price increases announced by Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila on 12 June as well as the abortive bid to transfer 49 percent of shares of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo port to India and Japan.
National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa spearheaded the constituents’ campaign. He sought an explanation particularly as regards Cabinet approval for the controversial energy deal with the US firm, without a discussion among ministers.
NFF sources told The Island that their leader felt the urgent need to take up the matter to prevent further deterioration of relations among the coalition members.
Several parties including government ally the Jathika Sanvidhana Ekamuthuwa moved the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, respectively against the secretive energy deal with the US firm.
‘Those who hesitate to get vaccinated pose a threat to others’
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath said yesterday a significant number of people had not received the Covid-19 vaccine, and posed a threat to society.
“No matter what your age category is, you will be at a higher risk of being infected and spreading it to others. So please get vaccinated,” he urged.
The DDGHS said that a booster shot would be given to people from 01 Nov.
The Health Ministry would carry out the ongoing vaccination drive until everyone got the first two doses, he said.
“However, we won’t keep hundreds of vaccination centres open. Most likely, those who have not got vaccinated will have to go to designated locations to receive the vaccine.”
School attendance high as parents have faith in teachers – CTU head
By Rathindra Kuruwita
School attendance was high Despite inter-provincial travel restrictions, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said yesterday. “The government announced on 22 October that primary sections of all schools would be reopened on 25 October. Despite the short notice the attendance was high, and this is testament to the faith parents have in teachers,” he said.Primary sections of 9,155 schools recommenced yesterday.
“However, we will only teach. Teachers do a lot of additional work instead of teaching and most people who slander us have no idea about this,” he said.
Deputy Director General of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath urged relevant authorities to provide safe and adequate transport facilities to students. It was vital that those vehicles were ventilated, and social distancing was maintained.
“We urge parents to buy reusable face masks for kids. If your child has any symptoms of COVID such as fever and cold, don’t send him/her to school until you are certain this is not COVID. Teach your child the importance of washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. This is the way we can ensure there is no spread in the school system,” Dr. Herath said.
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