|China and Sri Lanka|
|( Last Update : 2003/10/23 )|
I. Political Relations
China and Sri Lanka have started friendly exchanges of visits since ancient times. Sri Lanka is called Sinhalam or Sinhalese State in Chinese history. In 410, after two years of studying in Sri Lanka coming over from India, Learned Chinese Monk Faxian of Jin Dynasty brought back to China some Buddhist literature and wrote the book Romance of a Buddhist Country. Navigator Zheng He of Ming Dynasty sailed to Sri Lanka many a time. In the 15th century, a Sri Lanka prince visited Beijing and settled down in QuanZhou, Fujiang on his way back home. He was surnamed Shi by the Ming emperor and his desendants are still living in Quanzhou and Taiwan. After Sri Lanka was reduced to colony of the West, Sino- Sri Lanka relations were for some time suspended.
In 1950, the Sri Lanka Government recognized New China. In February 7, 1957, China and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations. Ever since, the two countries have maintained friendly relations and frequent high-level contacts. Premier Zhou Enlai visited Sri Lanka twice (in 1957 and 1964 respectively), so did Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the NPC Deng Yingchao (in 1977), Vice-Premier Geng Biao (in 1978), Vice-premier cum Foreign Minister Huang Hua (in 1981), State Counselor cum Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian (in 1985), President Li Xiannian (in 1086), Premier Li Peng (in 1990), Vice-Premier cum Foreign Minister Qian Qishen (in 1994), Vice-Chairperson of the standing Committee of the NPC Chen Muhua (In 1997), Chairman of the CPPCC Li Ruihuan (in 1999), and Premier Zhu Rongji (in 2001). Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mme Bandaranaike visited China respectively (in 1961 and 1972), so did President Jayewardene (in 1984), Prime Minister Premadasa (in 1979 and 1988), Prime Minister Wijetunga (in 1989), Foreign Minister Kardirgamar
As special envoys of the Chinese Government, Vice-Chairman Xu Xiangqian, and Vice-Chairpersons Chen Muhua and He Luli of the Standing Committee of the NPC went to Sri Lanka respectively in 1973, 1988 and 2000 to attend the inaugurations of the Parliament House and Supreme Court Building as well as the funeral of the former Prime Minister Bandaranaike.
In July 2002, Power and Energy Minister Jayasuriya visited China as Special envoy of the Sri Lanka prime minister. In October 2002, the 4th round of diplomatic talks was held in Beijing between China and Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Government has always pursued a friendly policy toward China, and rendered strong support for the Taiwan and Tibet questions and human rights issue. The two countries share consensus on many major international issues and enjoy sound cooperation between them.
The current Sri Lanka Government are friendly with China. Members of the Bandaranaike Vlan maintain close relations with Chinese leaders of the older generation. President Kumaratunga is the daughter of the late Mme Bandaranaike. Regarding Vhina as a reliable friend, Sri Lanka abides by its 'One China' position and refrains from any official contacts with Taiwan. It has supported China many times at the human rights conferences in upsetting anti-China motions sponsored by the West.
II. Sino-Sri Lankan Economic and Trade Relations as well as Economic and Technological Cooperation
In 1952, prior to its establishment of diplomatic relations with China, Sri Lanka, ignoring the sanction of some Western countries against China, signed the trade agreement on rubber for rice with China, thus ushering in friendly cooperation in economic and trade fields between China and Sri Lanka.
1) Bilateral Trade From 1953 to 1982, Sino- Sri Lankan trade was Accounts-keeping trade, and since 1983, this bilateral trade has been conducted in the form of cash settlement. In 2002, the traded volume between China and Sri Lanka totaled US$ 0.35 billion, down 11.4% from 2001, of which China's exports accounted for US$ 0.34 billion and its imports US$10 million.
At present, China's major imports from Sri Lanka are rubber plus its products, black tea, precious stones and palm oil while its main exports to Sri Lanka are textiles, machinery and electronic products, building materials, metal fitting and pharmaceuticals. Some brand products of China like Haier household appliances and motorcycles have entered the Sri Lankan market.
2) Economic Cooperation In 1982, started beneficial economic cooperation between China and Sri Lanka. At the end of 2001 390 contracts concerning China's labor projects in Sri Lanka were signed with contracted turnover amounting to US$ 633.56 thousand.
3) Investment in Sri Lanka By the end of 2001, China's sum total of investment in Sri Lanka had reached US$ 12.96 million.
III. Important Bilateral Agreements and Documents
Agreement on Rice for Rubber signed in 1952 is the most important treaty in the Sino- Sri Lankan relations and the first trade agreement signed by new China with a country of different social system. It has played very significant role in breaking through the American blockade and embargo against China and promoting the establishment of Sino- Sri Lankan diplomatic relations and development of their friendly relations.
In 1956, Joint Communiqué between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Sri Lanka was signed, so was Joint Statement between Premier Zhou Enlai of the People's Republic of China and Prime Minister Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka signed in 1957, Agreement on Economic and Technological Cooperation between the Chinese and Sri Lankan Governments in 1962, Joint Communiqué between the People's Republic of China and Republic of Sri Lanka, and Agreements on Economic and Technological Cooperation between the Chinese and Sri Lankan Government signed respectively in 1972, 74, 84, 86, 90, 91, 94, 96, 98, 2000, 2001, and 2002.