( March 08, 2012, Beijing, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in China organized a Sri Lanka cultural evening and gala dinner under the theme “Refreshingly Sri Lanka” to celebrate the 64th Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka and the 55th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and China on 05th March 2012 at China World Hotel in Beijing, in collaboration with a large number of Chinese companies and well-wishers and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Sri Lanka National Gem and Jewelry Authority, Sri Lanka Tea Board and Sri Lankan Airlines.
|Cultural Performance by Channa-Upuli Dancing Foundaiton of Sri Lanka at the celebrations oFoundaiton of Sri Lanka at the celebrations|
|Secretary,Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of Sri Lanka lighting the oil lamp at opment of Sri Lanka lighting the oil lamp|
The Guest of Honour at the event was Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of Sri Lanka. The Chinese Government was represented at the event by Miao Wei, Minister for Industrial and Information Technology of China and Madam Fu Ying, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China. A distinguished gathering of over 600 guests including foreign Ambassadors in China, Senior Chinese Government officials, heads of Government Departments and Travel / Trade Associations, Heads of Business / Investment Companies, friends from the Sri Lanka community and well-wishers participated at the glamorous event.
Miao Wei, Minister of Industrial and Information Technology of China in his speech stated that Sri Lanka has realized domestic peace and the post-war reconstruction is progressing steadily, while accelerated economic development has improved the livelihood of the people. China as the friendly neighbour feels happy about these developments. China believes that under the leadership of the President of Sri Lanka the country will make steady progress. China would like to continue to provide assistance to help the economic and social development of Sri Lanka. The Minister was confident that the friendship between Sri Lanka and China would last forever.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence in his address to the gathering strongly emphasized the warm and deep appreciation of the Sri Lankan Government for the firm and consistent support of the Chinese Government in safeguarding Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly at international fora. He also expressed confidence that the close cooperation, respect and friendship between Sri Lanka and China will continue to grow as Sri Lanka builds on the foundations of peace to achieve prosperity for its people through economic transformation in which China remains a trusted development partner.
Delivering the welcome speech Ranjith Uyangoda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China stated that when diplomatic relations between the two countries were formalized in 1957, Sri Lanka and China had already inherited a centuries old relationship with numerous exchanges between the two countries in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres. Sri Lanka and China had even entered into bilateral agreements prior to the formalization of the relations and one such agreement was the rubber rice pact which was signed in 1952. Since the formalization of relations in 1957, there has been steady progress in many areas of cooperation between the two countries including people to people contacts and China has remained a close friend of Sri Lanka with excellent bilateral relations based on mutual respect, trust and understanding.
Ambassador Uyangoda also highlighted the fact that in the recent past the relations have been further strengthened under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Hu Jintao President of China who have taken the relations to an unprecedented height. Today, China has become the largest development partner of Sri Lanka while trade between the two countries has increased by 152% and tourism by 47% when compared with the year 2010 he added. The Ambassador also said that the 55th Anniversary of diplomatic relations was being celebrated on a positive note with confidence that the relations will be even better and stronger in generations to come.
The event was held at the prestigious “China World Hotel”, a Shangri-La Hotel that has now become a development partner of Sri Lanka and promoted the many facets that Sri Lanka has to offer including Sri Lankan gems and jewelry, culture and customs, Sri Lankan cuisine and tourism. Two chefs from Mahaweli Reach Hotel in Kandy were brought to Beijing by the Embassy of Sri Lanka especially for the event. The evening also included cultural performances by Sri Lankan dancers from the popular Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation of Sri Lanka and the June 1st Primary School in Beijing that has a sister school relationship with “Royal” school in Colombo. 03 lucky winners of the Raffle draw were given the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka with Sri Lankan Airlines offering 03 return air tickets with accommodation in Sri Lanka.
As part of the celebrations for the 55th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and China, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing has also organized with the “Beijing Friendship Association for Foreign Countries” and “Association for Sri Lanka-China Social and Cultural Co-operation” a photo exhibition depicting the history of the relations between the two countries from 08 March onwards. The Embassy has also organized with 03 popular magazines produced by “Embassy News”, “Lookwe Magazine” and “The International Business Daily” which is published by the Ministry of Commerce of China to have special editions exclusively dedicated to Sri Lanka for this special occasion. Together with China World Hotel, the Embassy has organized a Sri Lanka food festival for one week.
| A statement issued by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing