Sri Lankan Prime Minister seeks Japanese assistance to develop the Trincomalee Port in the eastern region
Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has last week noted the significance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on strengthening defence cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan during the recent visit of the Japanese Defence Minister to Sri Lanka.
During a meeting between the visiting Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and Wickremesinghe, the latter has reportedly pointed out that Sri Lanka has always been committed to free maritime movement in the Indian Ocean.
The Prime Minister has reportedly pointed out that, as the Bay of Bengal countries develop rapidly in the next 20 years, Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Port in the East would become the central port in the region. Wickremesinghe has also said that Sri Lanka expects Japan’s assistance to develop the Port.
The Japanese Defence Minister meanwhile has said he hoped to visit Trincomalee to observe and get an understanding of the port and the area.
According to reports, Minister Onodera, who appreciated Sri Lanka’s support for the development that Japan has achieved in the past, had gratefully acknowledged former President J. R. Jayewardene’s speech at the San Francisco Conference in 1951 on the Japanese Peace Treaty.
The Prime Minister and the Japanese Minister have also discussed maritime security cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan, and regional peace.
The comments by the Japanese Defence Minister show the long standing relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. The assistance pledged by Japan for Sri Lanka’s maritime security is indicative of the importance placed by Japan on its relations with Sri Lanka. The request by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister for Japanese assistance to develop the Trincomalee Port in the eastern region is an investment opportunity for interested Japanese businesses.
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