Fostering Vietnam-Sri Lanka relations in a substantial manner

Monday, 2017-04-17 11:26:34
 Font Size:     |        Print

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe inspect the guard of honour at an official welcoming ceremony for the latter in Hanoi on April 17 (Photo: VNA)
 Font Size:     |  

NDO - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe together with his spouse and a high-ranking Sri Lankan Government delegation arrived in Hanoi to begin an official visit to Vietnam from April 16 to 19 at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Covering a total area of around 65,610 square kilometres. Sri Lanka is located south of India in the Indian Ocean. The country has a population of more than 21.1 million, 73.8% of which are of the Sinhalese ethnic group. 65% of Sri Lankan people are Buddhist followers. Sri Lanka is a democratic republic state with many political parties.

In May 2009, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), ending the country’s thirty-year civil war and laying a foundation for national reunification, stability and development. Rising above difficulties and challenges of the post-war period, the Sri Lankan Government has rallied efforts to stabilise the political situation, promote national reconciliation, reconstruct the country and build a peaceful environment in a bid to facilitate economic development. The country’s economy is composed of three major sectors, and in 2016, services contributed 60.6% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while industry and agriculture accounted for 31% and 8.5%, respectively.

The country has also gained significant social achievements, particularly in realising human development goals, with the average life expectancy of Sri Lankans at 72 years. The country’s situation has been stable in recent recent years. In order to further develop the country, the Sri Lankan government has ensured a harmonious combination between market economy and state control, aiming to turn Sri Lanka into a centre of maritime, aviation, trade and knowledge in the region while serving as an important bridge linking the East and the West. Sri Lanka has also considered economic diplomacy as a top priority in foreign policy, and has actively called for loans from international financial institutions to develop the country. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), GDP in Sri Lanka was worth US$82.2 billion in 2016, GDP growth rate reached 5%, GDP per capita was estimated at US$3,870 while the inflation rate was at 4.1%.

The traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Sri Lanka has been continuously consolidated and developed over the past year. The two countries have continued to hold high-ranking bilateral visits and exchanges. The two sides have established a joint committee on trade, science and technology, and political consultations have been held between the two sides. Bilateral trade and economic cooperation has seen encouraging progress. Bilateral trade growth in the 210-2016 reached 34% per year and two-way trade turnover hit US$325.6 million in 2016.

The countries have identified investment promotion areas with Vietnam as garment and textile, rubber, electricity-electronics, farm produce processing, foodstuff, and gem stone and jewellery making and Sri Lanka’s as telecommunications, agriculture machinery manufacturing, aquaculture, oil and gas production, and plastics and construction materials production. As of January 2017, Sri Lanka had 15 operating investment projects capitalised at US$76.84 million in Vietnam.

The countries have enjoyed productive collaboration in oil and gas, agriculture fisheries, judiciary and international law, education and training, people-to-people exchange, and tourism. Vietnam and Sri Lanka have coordinated effectively at regional and international forums, particularly at the United Nations.

During Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official visit to Vietnam, leaders of the two countries will focus their discussions on fostering bilateral multifaceted cooperation in a substantial manner, particularly in such fields of mutual interest, such as trade, investment, telecommunications, aquaculture and seafood processing, machinery manufacturing and construction materials. The two sides will also take the occasion to discuss international and regional issues of mutual concern.

We believe that the visit will be a great success, contributing to positively developing Vietnam-Sri Lanka relations, bringing practical interest to the two peoples, and contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.