On September 17 local time, President Xi Jinping, accompanied by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, inspected the South Container Terminal of Colombo Port, an important China-Sri Lanka cooperation project, and attended the Port City ground-breaking ceremony.
Xi Jinping received warm welcome from President Rajapaksa when arriving at the port. The two heads of state stood on the roof of the port building and looked out. The water was shining under the sunshine, the freighters were berthing at the port, the containers were neatly laid out and the cranes were working busily. Xi Jinping listened to the project introduction from the head of China Merchants Group and affirmed the achievements they have made.
Later on, Xi Jinping and Rajapaksa went together to the site of the Port City ground-breaking ceremony. The workers of both countries and the public had awaited there on tiptoes. When the two heads of state arrived, the youth of Sri Lanka played cheerful music accompanied by drumbeats to express their joy.
Amidst warm applause, Xi Jinping and Rajapaksa jointly unveiled the foundation of Port City and cut the ribbon for ground-breaking. With colored flags fluttering, the crowd cheered. The dredgers on the sea sounded their sirens and sprayed sand in the air, and excavators pushed gravel into the sea. With this unique harbor-style celebration, people hoped that Colombo Port, the ancient "East Intersection", would shine with extraordinary splendor again in the construction of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.
Xi Jinping said that I am glad for you when I saw the flourishing development of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka enjoys unique geographical advantages, and I believe that you can surely accelerate your development and constantly move towards the established targets. China will continue to strengthen cooperation between the two countries and provide assistance to Sri Lanka within our capacity.
Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka puts forward the "Mahinda Vision", which aims to speed up development, improve people's livelihood and create a shipping and business center in the Indian Ocean. With the help of Chinese friends, the people of Sri Lanka will make their dreams come true.
Xi Jinping walked among the Chinese workers and conveyed greetings from the Chinese people to them. He required the Chinese workers in a highly responsible manner to constantly pursue excellence in their work, finish their jobs on time with guaranteed quality, and complete building the key hub of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road with Sri Lanka.
The South Container Terminal of Colombo Port is the largest Chinese investment project in Sri Lanka, with four container berths and a designed throughput capacity of 2.4 million standard containers. Completed in April of this year, as of August the terminal had served more than 450 ships and handled 473,300 standard containers, and the volume of business maintained a high rate of growth.
Port City is built by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. The land reclamation of about 2.76 million square meters and the construction of infrastructure including roads and pipelines are expected to be completed in September 2017. The remaining facilities will be completed in 2022. After completion, it will be connected to the central business district of Colombo, expanding the development space of Colombo City and stimulating investment and employment, which is a major initiative for Sri Lanka to build an important stopover on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu and Yang Jiechi attended the above-mentioned activities.