China on Tuesday said it supported the Sri Lankan government’s efforts towards reconciliation, and indicated it would back the country against any international pressure following a recent United Nations report accusing the government of war crimes.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told visiting Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris in talks on Tuesday that China supported the Sri Lankan government, and people, resolving their own issues, indicating China’s opposition to international interference as well as the U.N. report, which called for an international investigation into the closing stages of the civil war.
“China believes that the Sri Lankan government and people have the capacity to achieve national reconciliation, social stability and economic prosperity,” Mr. Yang said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The visit of the Sri Lankan minister to Beijing follows his trip to New Delhi last week, which was his first diplomatic stop as the country looks to mobilise support following the release of the U.N. report. Indian officials last week expressed concern over the pace of reconciliation two years on after the end of the war, and had called for accelerated initiatives.
In talks here, the two sides also discussed the state of a number of infrastructure projects Chinese companies have undertaken in Sri Lanka, including the port at Hambantota, the Mattala airport and the Colombo-Katunyake expressway.
The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said in a statement the two sides had discussed arrangements proposed by Sri Lanka for the second phase of the Hambantota project. Last year, the China Harbour Engineering Company signed a $ 810 million contract with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to complete the project within 36 months.