Visit to China by Hon. T.B. Ekanayake, Minister of Culture and the Arts
 The Minister of Culture and the Arts, T.B. Ekanayake visited Beijing from 03 – 07 June 2012 at the invitation of the Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, Cai Wu to participate at the 9th Cultural Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).


During the visit the Minister of Culture and his Chinese counterpart signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Establishment of a Chinese Cultural Center in Sri Lanka. It is envisaged that this MoU will further strengthen the friendly relationship and understanding between the peoples and Governments of the two countries and promote the development of exchange and cooperation in the field of humanities.


At the bilateral discussions the two Ministers recalled with great sense of happiness the historic and friendly relations between the two countries. The Chinese Minister recollected his visit to Sri Lanka in 2004 and stated that Sri Lanka and China enjoyed a strong relationship in all areas of cooperation and that China has continued to support Sri Lanka in all her endeavors.  Minister Wu also referred to the Rubber – Rice Agreement signed between Sri Lanka and China in 1952 and stated that the support given to China by Sri Lanka at that time is forever in the minds of the Chinese people. Hence the Chinese people believe that Sri Lanka is a true friend of China.


Minister Ekanayake referred to the economic and cultural assistance provided to Sri Lanka by China including the construction of the BMICH, the Hambantota Port and most recently the “Mahinda Rajapaksa National Performing Arts Theatre”.  While thanking the Chinese Government for the support extended to Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism, Minister Ekanayake noted with gratitude the support extended by China to Sri Lanka at the recently concluded UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China, Ranjith Uyangoda and senior officials of the Ministry of Culture of Sri Lanka and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing were present during the discussions.


Minister Ekanayake also held discussions with Li Changchun, a Senior Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee together with other Heads of delegations.


Minister Ekanayake represented Sri Lanka at the 09th Cultural Ministers Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held on 05th June 2012 in Beijing. While addressing the Ministers of Culture at the meeting, Minister Ekanayake stated that Sri Lanka’s Culture and Art is influenced by a society that is multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural. While outlining some of the important cultural links between Sri Lanka and the Member States of the SCO, the Minister stated that Sri Lanka enjoys a very close and cordial relationship with the Member States of the SCO and that the SCO is an important Organization for the country and Sri Lanka is looking forward to actively contributing to the work of the SCO as the Organization enters its second decade of development. Minister Ekanayake also sought the support of the Member States of the SCO for Sri Lanka’s request for upgrading its status to Observer in the Organization.


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization, proclaimed on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Sri Lanka and Belarus are Dialogue Partners of the Organization. Observers of the Organization include Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran.


Senior officials of the Ministry of Culture of Sri Lanka and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing also participated at the meeting.


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