China has said that Sri Lanka is a key component in the '21st Century Maritime Silk Road' with two of its port engagements being flagship projects of the pragmatic cooperation between Beijing and Colombo under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to a media report.
The Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port are the two joint mega-projects being developed in Sri Lanka with Chinese support.
In 2013, China had unveiled plans for the massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through which it seeks to build rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of the ancient Silk Road trading routes.
The BRI includes the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
"China believes that under the guidance of the important consensuses reached between the leaders of China and Sri Lanka, the economic and trade cooperation between both countries will inject a new vigour to Sri Lanka's economic and social development, enable development achievements to better benefit the people, and let ordinary people get more sense of gain," Colombo Gazette quoted Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan as saying.
In November this year, China will hold the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai and Sri Lanka is expected to take part in the expo.
The report said this is the world's first expo themed on import and is a major policy measure of China to further open its market to the world.
"Sri Lanka attaches great importance to this event and will send a high-level delegation to China. Sri Lanka's black tea, rubber, gems, textiles and other featured products will come to Shanghai, exhibiting the charm of Sri Lanka to the huge Chinese market," the Ambassador said.
"We believe that China-Sri Lanka traditional friendship will continue to deepen on this new platform," he added.
China is expected to import 24 trillion USD worth of goods in the coming 15 years, according to the report.