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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Abe Strikes 'New Partnership' with Sri Lanka

Forge stronger maritime links between the two countries

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It was a colorful send-off for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he wrapped up his two-day visit to Sri Lanka on Monday.

Abe visited the historic Kelaniya temple on the outskirts of the capital, Columbo. He was greeted by dozens of children waving Japanese flags.

He offered lotus flowers to a statue of Buddha and was blessed by Buddhist monks.

He stopped at the temple on the way to the airport, where a new passenger terminal will be built with the help of a $330 million Japanese development loan.

Abe is the first Japanese leader to visit Sri Lanka in 24 years.

At a business forum on Sunday he said he and Sri Lanka's president agreed on improving their relationship from a traditional friendship to a new partnership between two maritime countries.

He also expressed hope for more cooperation in the agriculture sector.

Abe's South Asia tour, which also included a stop in Bangladesh, is an attempt to assert Tokyo's interest in a region where it has ceded influence to China.

China's president has a trip of his own scheduled to India and Sri Lanka later this month.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Sri Lanka's president agreed on Sunday  to forge stronger maritime links between their countries in a move partly aimed at countering China's influence in the region.

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a one-on-one discussions on bilateral ties and the way forward before being joined by their respective delegations for extended talks, reports the Lanka Page web site.

"Our two countries, as maritime nations, recognize the importance of ensuring maritime cooperation and security. I am pleased to note the close interaction between the defence establishments of our countries on this aspect," President Rajapaksa said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

 

 

 

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