Sri Lankan Prez leaves for China to attend conference on Asian Civilizations

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena left for China on Monday in a move that has surprised both political and diplomatic circles over its urgency at a time when the island nation is witnessing communal violence following the deadly Easter Sunday suicide bombings.

President Sirisena, who is heading a 27-member delegation, will attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing, local media reported.

The conference - to be held from May 15 to 22 - will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who would deliver a keynote speech.

During his three-day visit, President Sirisena will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi on Tuesday.

More than 2,000 government officials and representatives of various circles from 47 Asian countries and other countries outside the region will attend the opening ceremony and forums.

Sirisena's visit comes just three weeks after the ISIS suicide attack on three churches and three luxury hotels in the island nation that left more than 250 dead and over 400 injured.

President Sirisena told Parliament this week that the 99 per cent of those involved had been arrested and there would be normalcy soon.

However, senior security officials, who did not wish to be named, said it would take a longer period to return to normalcy, the Sunday Times reported.