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Xi's visit to enhance ties with Maldives, Sri Lanka: FM

2014-09-10 10:03 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Chinese President Xi Jinping's pending visits to the Maldives and Sri Lanka are of great and profound significance, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.

In a briefing about President Xi's coming visit to three South Asian countries of Maldives, Sri Lanka and India from Sept. 14 to 19, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao said the visit will be another major action in relations with neighboring countries.

Liu said Xi's visit to the Maldives will be the first ever visit by China's head of state since the two countries established diplomatic links 42 years ago.

Liu said this visit is of "epoch-making significance" for China-Maldives ties.

During his visit, President Xi will hold talks with Maldive President Abdulla Yameen and meet with Parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh. The two sides will issue a joint press communique and sign a series of cooperation agreements, Liu said.

Over the past 42 years, bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and tourism has grown steadily as China has been the top source of overseas tourists for the Maldives for the past four years.

During Xi's visit to Sri Lanka, he will hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and meet with Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne and Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to plan the future growth of bilateral relations.

Liu said the two sides will jointly issue a political document and sign a series of cooperation agreements.

Liu said since China and Sri Lanka established diplomatic ties 57 years ago, bilateral relations have been healthy and stable. China-Sri Lanka relations have become an example of friendly coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation between large and small countries.

Liu said over the years, the two countries have maintained frequent exchange of visit by high-level officials, continuously deepening practical cooperation in trade, investment and infrastructure development and expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

China has become Sri Lanka's second largest trade partner and the second largest sources of imports to Sri Lanka.

Liu said the two countries share mutual understanding and support on the issues of each other's core interests and major concerns. The two sides have cooperated closely with each other on regional and international issues.

In 2013, the two countries upgraded their relationship to a strategic cooperation partnership of reciprocal assistance and friendship for generations to come.

Xi's visit will strongly advance China's relations with these countries and advance the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century.

Liu said Xi's visit will also help build a general framework for future cooperation between China and South Asia and promote common development and prosperity.

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