General Liang Guanglie, State Councillor and Minister of National Defence of People’s Republic of China (PRC), currently in Sri Lanka met his host, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence and Urban Development Friday (31) afternoon for formal talks, during which China pledged a grant of Chinese Yuan 75 million (about Rs 1564 million) towards construction of a state-of-the-art new auditorium complex at Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA), Diyatalawa, the Army’s premier seat of learning.
General Guanglie’s meeting with Mr Rajapaksa at Ministry of Defence was attended by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetillake, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral D.W.A.S. Dissanayake, Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal H.D Abeywickrama and Military Liaison Officer (MLO), Major General (retd) Palitha Fernando.
General Guanglie expressing his heartfelt thanks for Sri Lanka’s hospitality recalled treasured bonds of goodwill and friendship that exist between China and Sri Lanka and said that he feels deeply honoured to be the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit Sri Lanka.
General Guanglie, impressed with post-war development prospects in Sri Lanka assured his government’s continued cooperation and pledged a grant of Chinese Yuan 75 million for construction of a new auditorium complex at SLMA, a long-felt need of the academy which was projected to the attention of Chinese military officers, earlier when another delegation visited the place.
The agreement cum the memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed on the same occasion during formal talks. General Guanglie, Chinese Minister of National Defence and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa were the signatories to the agreement. Cordial talks centered largely on bilateral cooperation, regional issues and opening more and more avenues for exchange of training programmes between both countries.
Towards the end of the interaction, Mr Rajapaksa presented a token of memento to the visiting General and wished him well. The visiting Chinese Minister reciprocated the gesture.
The visiting General Guanglie, Minister of National Defence Friday (31) morning in the meantime went to Panagoda Army Cantonment at the invitation of the Army and received a comprehensive update on the roles and tasks of the troops serving the Security Forces Headquarters-South (SFHQ-S).
At the entrance to the Panagoda Army Cantonment, the visiting Minister and his retinue were received by Major General S.R Manawadu, Commander SFHQ-S. Minutes after that, a Guard of Honour saluted General Guanglie and did the honours before he was ushered to the Cantonment’s main conference hall for a briefing.
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army also joined the delegation around the same time and was associated with the rest of the day’s itinerary of the visiting Chinese Minister of National Defence.