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Rajapaksa arrives in China on sixth visit

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

Sri Lankan President arrived here today on a 4-day state visit, his sixth, with Colombo saying that its ties with were not an "exclusive one" and would not harm interests of others.

This is Rajapaksa's first visit after the new leadership headed by Xi Jinping assumed power here.

was expected to announce more aid for various development projects in in addition to heavy infrastructure projects like Hambantota port in Rajapaksa's home town.

Colombo will embrace China's rise, and its friendship with is "not an exclusive one" and wouldn't harm the interests of other countries, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, G L Peiris said in an interview.

"has contributed very significantly to our economic development by assisting us with infrastructure after the eradication of terrorism," Peiris said.

perceives China's rise as an opportunity, while some of China's neighbours remain skeptical toward Beijing's growing power, state-run Global Times said, referring to India's concerns over growing influence of in the island nation.

The close ties between and China have raised suspicions among other powers like India that it may be used against them, the report said.

In his interview to the daily, Peiris said such fears "have no foundation".

"Sri Lanka has friendly relations with other countries as well, but there has never been a conflict, because China has never sought to use her relations with Sri Lanka in order to put any other country in peril or to jeopardise interests of any other countries," he said.

As for bilateral ties, Peiris said while the political relationship is "as good as it can be," Sri Lanka hopes to expand trade ties with China by exporting more value-added goods so as to narrow its trade deficit.

The daily's report also highlighted Chinese assistance to Sri Lanka to enable Colombo to crush the LTTE.

First Published: Mon, May 27 2013. 17:32 IST