China and Sri Lanka establish sister cities
Sri Lanka and China have maintained relationships with each country spanning several hundred years. China has also been a key player in the recent infrastructure development of the Sri Lanka. The memorandum of understanding was signed, establishing a sister city programme in which Jishan, Shanxi Province of China and Monaragala, Uva Province will become sister cities. This is likely to further strengthen the bond between the two countries.
The MoU was signed between the district secretary of Monaragala and the Magistrate of the People’s Government of Jishan Country, as well the Chinese and local delegations. However, the MoU still requires cabinet approval to be provided before it can be implemented.
Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Japan, was a key stakeholder in this process which started due to Most. Ven. Chang Zang, the Chief Incumbent of Longquan Temple in Beijing requesting the measure to improve relationship that exist between the two countries. Longquan Temple is one of the few sites where a Lord Buddha’s sacred Tooth Relic can be seen and is also an important location for Sri Lanka, as it is the birth place of the Rev. Faxian who visited Sri Lanka to learn Buddhism during the 5th century.
A 60-acre garden was opened just last year in commemoration of the Buddhist relations and 60 years of diplomatic relations under the name, “China-Sri Lanka Friendship Jishan Jujube Orchard”.
Sri Lanka and China will gain access to most markets of the world with very competitive pricing through a close collaboration. According to current market predictions, China’s economy is likely to grow in the coming years and Sri Lankan economy can leverage this for growth as well. China has set up sister cities with many countries, among them India, Maldives and Nepal. Due to the sister cities being set up, it has opened up massive economic potential for these cities. As such Sri Lanka too can benefit in the same way as many such sister cities have done.
Sri Lanka also has 3 other sister cities with China namely, Hambantota and Guangzhou, Nuwara Eliya and Yongzhou and Sri Jayawardenanpura Kotte and Hangzhou. Monaragala is a rural area which, in our opinion is an excellent choice. Being a rural area, it has significant underlying potential that can now be harnessed due to expanding opportunities in the region. The sister city MoU, thus has the capacity to transform many of the local industries in the region.
China has a rapidly changing demographic with the middle class set to represent 40% of the population by 2020. This would mean China’s population would look towards finer tastes which opens up the possibility to discover new opportunities and markets. Also, with closely linked diplomatic ties and economic ties Sri Lankan exports to China would come at much competitive prices than it would be possible for goods from other countries.
Sister City initiative is further evidence to the ever-growing relation between the two countries, which will aid Sri Lanka as it looks to solidify an economic presence within the world. China being one of the world’s biggest markets both in production and consumption, will allow Sri Lankan products to reach a much-expanded clientele and would thus bring a considerable amount of revenue.
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