Interestingly, the Lanka-China joint statement issued mentions the South China Sea, where China is locked in a
territorial tussle with several East Asian nations over the ownership. The statement said Colombo appreciates China’s readiness to promote dialogue whereas many of the other nations accuse Beijing of increasing tension in the region.
“The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. Sri Lanka calls for the settlement of disputes and differences through constructive dialogue, consultation and cooperation by the parties concerned in accordance with international laws and practices,” it said, adding Sri Lanka also appreciates China’s efforts and readiness to promote such dialogue in order to maintain peace and security in the region.
Mr. Vikremesinghe also said that Sri Lanka has accepted China’s proposal to use the maritime Silk Road to turn the island nation into an economic hub in the Indian Ocean despite India’s concern over it. Mr. Vikremesinghe made this observation at the end of his four-day visit to China. The Silk Road was part of the Belt and Road initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping with the stated aim of reviving ancient trade routes.