Sri Lanka president praises cultural and economic ties with Vietnam

Tuesday, 2017-09-05 15:52:47
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Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena (centre) and the Nhan Dan media crew
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NDO - As part of their visit to Sri Lanka in August, a Nhan Dan media crew was granted an interview with President Maithripala Sirisena on the rapidly expanding bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Q: What do you think about the relationship between Vietnam and Sri Lanka?

A: The relationship between Sri Lanka and Vietnam has a very long history. Historically, Sri Lanka and Vietnam have maintained close relations as Vietnam is also a Buddhist country with a Buddhist culture. Therefore, Vietnam and Sri Lanka have maintained a close connection with each other for over thousand years as two Buddhist countries. In the past few decades, the two countries have maintained amicable and cordial relations following the establishment of diplomatic relations. Even before that, the relationship between Sri Lanka and Vietnam was harmonious given the equal status in religious, cultural and economic contexts of the two countries at that time.
We are very pleased that the bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in trade and economics, are flourishing. Furthermore, we have seen great progress in terms of the tourism industry. Thus, our two countries have maintained very cordial relations with each other. I can say that very high level of bilateral cooperation exist between Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Q: What do you think about Vietnamese culture and the Vietnamese people?

A: The people of Vietnam are hard-working and Vietnamese farmers are highly talented. They are diligent in cultivating not only rice but also vegetables as well as supplementary crops.

Vietnam is a country that I love very much and it is a country that is very close to my heart. On one hand I am captivated by the history of the war in Vietnam, while on the other hand I respect it as a fellow Buddhist country with a historic Buddhist culture and background.

Furthermore, both our countries have an agricultural economic foundation. When we add the dedication of the Vietnamese people to take their country to new heights of development, there are many things for us to be happy about. Therefore, all my visits to Vietnam have brought immense happiness to me and I was very pleased when visiting the cities and all other areas.

Q: What is the potential of Sri Lanka to attract Vietnamese investors and other international investors?

A: Sri Lanka is a country offering a host of concessions to foreign investors and there are plenty of opportunities for investments in Sri Lanka. Vietnamese investors, as well as investors from other countries of the world, have the opportunity and freedom to come to Sri Lanka and invest in their field of preference.
Various facilities required by investors, tax concessions and many other privileges have been made available to such potential investors. Therefore investors are welcome to make use of these advantages in various sectors of the economy.

On one hand you have the tourism industry and on the other hand you have agriculture. Furthermore, as an island nation we are quite keen on the fisheries industry as well and that is another potential area of development.

The hotel industry is another profitable area of investment with huge potential. In addition to these industries, manufacturing, the production of day-to-day necessities for the population of our country, are other areas of investment with great potential.

One of the most significant features that would be attractive to such potential investors is the strategic geological location of Sri Lanka. It is a probable centre for trade and naval activities and can be used as a hub to distribute goods to many different parts of the world.

Therefore the strategic location of Sri Lanka could be highly useful to investors when distributing their products to the world market. Thus we give investors a suitable access point to the international market to export their products, in addition to the many concessions offered by us. Therefore I invite investors from Vietnam and other parts of the world to come to our country and invest, since we are providing them with many facilities.

Q: In April 2017 the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Vietnam agreed to raise two-way trade to a target of US$1 billion in the years to come. What is Sri Lanka's plan to achieve this?

A: I believe that a strong commitment is required from both sides in order to achieve the target values. Therefore we have given instructions to our Foreign Ministry, the Board of Investments and other Ministries and institutions under which investments are handled. These institutions have been briefed about fulfilling their primary duties in achieving these targets.

Engaging in regular progress reviews in terms of the agreed targets, providing facilities required by investors, with officers and heads of institutions focusing on encouraging investments and promoting the importance of acting socially, professionally and responsibly to attract investors.

Local resources such as land will be required to make these investments viable in the country. If the investors require any other resource we, as the government can provide them with infrastructure, land, water and electricity. Our officers have been instructed to make these facilities available. We are very committed to this and are very enthusiastic to make this endeavour a success.

Q: Sri Lanka has honoured late President Ho Chi Minh by installing a statue at the National Library in Colombo. What is your impression of President Ho Chi Minh?

A: Late President Ho Chi Minh is important not only to people of Vietnam but the people of the whole world. He was a great humanitarian and an excellent example of a leader. Therefore all of us respect him. We have great respect for him. He was an honest, exemplary and excellent leader and politician. The leadership he provided to the Vietnamese national struggle, his commitment to his people and the guidance he provided to his people is indeed admired by us all.

Thank you very much.

Nhan Dan TV Channel sent a media crew to Sri Lanka from August 3-10 with the intention of producing a documentary on the present dynamics in the country’s investment, business and tourism environment. Nhan Dan TV Channel visited historic sites of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy and Nuwaraeliya. In visiting these cities, they had the privilege of covering Ruwanwelisaya, Dambulla Cave temple, Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, the temple of the sacred tooth relic, a tea factory and a plantation in Ceylon Tea and the Haggala Botanical Garden. This programme was sponsored by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Hanoi. During this trip, Nhan Dan TV Channel conducted an interview with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on the rapidly expanding bilateral relations between the two countries.