As Chinese tourism closes, Sri Lanka says flights to and from Beijing will increase

ECONOMYNEXT – The office of Sri Lankan President Gotabay Rajapaksa on Monday said the Chinese ambassador to Colombo said Beijing will operate three flights to Sri Lanka from this week, while local carrier SriLankan will also reciprocate by increasing the number of flights to Beijing. .

It was not immediately clear why both countries wanted to increase the number of flights when there was no demand for air travel in the two countries. Most Sri Lankans are unable to travel as they used to because of a lack of dollars, while Chinese visitors, who were at the top of the tourist list, are unable to come because the Chinese government has not lifted the travel ban.

“A decision has been made to increase the number of flights between China and Sri Lanka,” the presidential press service (PMD) said in a statement.

“Accordingly, from this week, China will operate three flights to Sri Lanka. SriLankan Airlines also offers
frequent flights to China,” the report said.

“This was reported by the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, when he provided the courtesy
visit President Gotabay Rajapaksa at the President’s House in Colombo.”

The Ministry of Defense reported that the Chinese Ambassador informed the President about the economic and humanitarian assistance provided and
the Chinese government is expected to provide Sri Lanka.

“Measures have been taken to enable Sri Lankan medical students to return to China to continue their studies.
The further development of bilateral trade and economic activity was discussed in detail,” the Interior Ministry said.

“President Rajapaksa praised China for its support of Sri Lanka as a friendly country during this
The current economic crisis”.

The Chinese Embassy in Colombo did not comment on the meeting. But on Thursday, the embassy reported on its official Twitter page that Ambassador Qi Zhenhong went to the presidential palace and presented President Gotabay Rajapaksa with a birthday greeting letter from President Xi Jinping.

“The two sides also had a friendly exchange of views on China’s assistance to Sri Lanka and the promotion of major economic cooperation projects.”

China, Sri Lanka’s largest bilateral commercial creditor, has pledged US$2.5 billion to deal with the ongoing economic crisis in Colombo. However, the loans were put on hold as Beijing said it would wait until there was clarity on negotiations with the IMF and debt restructuring.

Beijing does not support any debt restructuring. However, he agreed to provide additional credit to Sri Lanka to pay off his past loans. (Colombo/June 20, 2022)

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