China attaches great importance to Sri Lanka's economic and social development needs, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang said here on Friday.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the China-Sri Lanka study center, the ambassador said as Sri Lanka's traditional friend, China looked to further strengthen its cooperation with the Sri Lankan Bhuddist community as both nations shared Bhuddism as its majority.
"Over 70 percent of the population of Sri Lankans believe in Buddhism, which plays an important role in the social life of this island nation. China always attaches importance to the Sri Lanka Buddhist community in terms of cooperation and communication," the Chinese ambassador said.
"Under the Chinese embassy's help, more than 100 Chinese Buddhists visited Sri Lanka, while more than 150 Sri Lankan monks visited China for exchange programs. In the future, China will encourage more exchange visits between the two countries and will further promote exchanges and cooperation between China and the Sri Lankan Buddhist culture," he added.
During the first half of 2015, China has provided over 1,100 training and scholarship opportunities to Sri Lankans and the country now looks to further increase these numbers.
Based on the significant progress made by the two countries in areas such as political, economic and cultural and civil exchanges in the recent years, the China-Sri Lanka Cooperation study center is also one of the results of cooperation between the two countries, Yi said.
Venerable Sri Lankan Bhuddist monks who participated in the event noted that Sri Lanka and China shared a strong bond and China had provided support and assistance to Sri Lanka for the post war economic development.
The monks further said Bhuddist exchanges between the two countries had increased and they hoped in the future China would take action to strengthen the Chinese language skills of the Sri Lankan Bhuddist monks.