Chinese delegation adhered to Covid-19 protocols | Sunday Observer
In keeping with travel bubble concept

Chinese delegation adhered to Covid-19 protocols

11 October, 2020

The Foreign Ministry yesterday confirmed that the visiting top Chinese delegation adhered to strict Covid-19 health protocols and their visit was in keeping with a travel bubble concept to prevent any contamination either way. The Foreign Ministry’s China Desk Director General B.Kandeepan told the Sunday Observer yesterday that their brief visit (24 hours) was a long overdue engagement.

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was to travel to China this year but the trip was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak,” he said adding that the visit was important in all aspects of bi-lateral relations for the country, especially in the backdrop of the government trying to overcome the pandemic effects to the country’s economy. The high level delegation headed by former Foreign Minister, key Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party and Diplomat Yan Jeichi included China’s International Development Cooperation Agency Chairman Wang Xiatao and Chinese Foreign Ministry official Cheng Song.

The Chinese team comprising 26 delegates had produced PCR test results taken before their departure. Three floors of the Shangrila Hotel were reserved for their overnight stay.

The close contacts of the officials were subject to PCR tests after their departure on Friday and the hotel was also disinfected as a precautionary measure.

The delegation was escorted to the Shangrila Hotel from the charter flight which arrived at the Bandaranaike International airport.

From the hotel, they were escorted to the President’s office and the Prime Minister’s office for official engagements, Kandeepan who is also the contact person at the Foreign Ministry for Covid-19 Task force said.

The Foreign Ministry issued the following release on the delegation’s visit yesterday, “As part of the Government’s sustained efforts at strengthening neighbourly relations, the Foreign Ministry facilitated on Friday (9/10) a high-level Chinese delegation composed of a key Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party and Diplomat Yan Jeichi along with the Chairman of China’s International Development Cooperation Agency Wang Xiatao and Chinese Foreign Ministry official Cheng Song to arrive in Sri Lanka.

The delegation held discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday, October 9, in the presence of Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage and other Government Ministers and dignitaries. Taking stock of the economic cooperation, the leaders recalled the catalytic role played by the Chinese FDI projects operational in Sri Lanka valued at over USD 3 billion, and the significant employment opportunities the projects have so far generated. The delegation and the Government underscored the importance of concluding the projects early towards reaping the benefits from the full potential of these mega Foreign Direct Investments in the country.

Recalling the immense support extended by the Chinese government in times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the President thanked the delegation for the valuable assistance and support consistently made available by the Chinese Government. The leaders also expressed their gratitude for the continued support and solidarity extended to Sri Lanka during the humanitarian operation in the North and China’s steadfast support in the Human Rights Council in trying times.

Reviewing the two-way trade, the Government called upon the Chinese leaders to facilitate market access to some of Sri Lanka’s unique commodities that could find demand in the Chinese domestic market towards increasing the trade turnover and improving the trade balance which is in favour of China. Both agreed the export basket to China need to be reviewed to increase the trade volume and the need to resume negotiations on the stalled talks on the Sri Lanka–China FTA. The first ever visit by Chinese leaders, during the Covid-19 pandemic to Colombo was organised under strict compliance of the health protocol – an air-bubble concept, of the Ministry of Health.”