President Xi Jinping praised China and Sri Lanka on Thursday for setting an example of friendly coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries different in size, and he called for steady progress in the future development of bilateral ties.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remark in a congratulatory letter to the China-Sri Lanka political parties conference commemorating the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact.
Seven decades ago, China and Sri Lanka signed the Rubber-Rice Pact against all odds, opening the door to friendly exchanges, Xi said.
Signed in 1952, the pact was a trade agreement under which Sri Lanka supplied rubber to China in exchange for rice. It was the first kind of governmental trade agreement signed between countries with no diplomatic ties and different social systems. It led to the establishment of diplomatic relations and expansion of trade between the two nations.
Xi said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Sri Lanka have shown mutual respect, solidarity and mutual assistance to each other and supported each other on issues concerning their respective core interests.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have been upholding the spirit of mutual assistance, jointly fighting the pandemic and elevating their traditional friendship, he added.
Xi stressed that the CPC has maintained friendly exchanges with major political parties in Sri Lanka and promoted pragmatic cooperation, which played a significant role in the sound and stable development of bilateral ties and benefited their peoples.
The CPC stands ready to work together with all political parties of Sri Lanka at the new starting point of the 65th anniversary to push forward bilateral traditional friendship and strengthen political guidance of China-Sri Lanka relations.
He also urged the two sides to jointly promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region.