Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa in Shanghai, east China, May 22, 2014. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
SHANGHAI, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa in Shanghai on Thursday. Rajapaksa is here for an Asia security summit which concluded on Wednesday with a joint declaration affirming Asian countries' commitment to enhancing dialogues, trust and coordination for a peaceful Asia.
Xi recalled Rajapaksa's last China trip in 2013, during which both countries upgraded their ties to a strategic cooperation partnership.
The past year has seen the consensus of the two state leaders implemented and bilateral cooperation in all areas stepped up, he said.
Calling Sri Lanka a reliable friend and important cooperation partner in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, Xi said China supports the country's efforts to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposes any interference in Sri Lanka's internal affairs under the excuse of human rights.
The Chinese president pledged to maintain high-level exchanges and expand cultural links with Sri Lanka.
Calling Sri Lanka an important partner in building the 21st century maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Xi urged both countries to jointly work toward achievements in the maritime economy, port construction and maritime security.
Rajapaksa replied that his country hopes to actively participate in the maritime Silk Road and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank projects.
Xi also urged both countries to launch negotiation on a China-Sri Lanka free-trade area (FTA) as soon as possible.
China supports its companies to invest in Sri Lanka, and has participated in cooperation projects regarding industrial parks, economic zones, power, highways and railways.
Rajapaksa vowed to facilitate maritime cooperation with China, step up FTA negotiation, infrastructure building and personnel exchanges as well as internet security cooperation.
He voiced appreciation for China's support for Sri Lanka's economic and social development, vowing to firmly support China's efforts to maintain national independence and fight terrorism.
The Sri Lankan president hailed the success of the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, and invited Xi to pay a state visit to Sri Lanka.