Colombo, Mar 28 (PTI) China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” has provided a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to achieve its goal to develop national economy and extend economic dividends to the grassroots level, a senior Sri Lanka official said today.

Secretary General of Sri Lanka’s National Economic Council (NEC) and Chief Economist Professor Lalith Samarakoon, during his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan also said that Colombo attaches great importance on Sri Lanka-China economic cooperation.

“The NEC will accordingly coordinate all related departments to speed up the implementations of the joint projects and deepen the friendship of the two countries,” Samarakoon was quoted as saying in a Chinese embassy release here.

China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seeks to build rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa in a revival of ancient Silk Road trading routes.

The issues related to BRI, earlier known as “One Belt One Road (OBOR), have been a major bone of contention between India and China as one portion of the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had represented Sri Lanka at the OBOR summit last year.

Emphesising that China attaches great importance to the bilateral relations, the Chinese Ambassador said his country was willing to implement the important consensus of the two leaders and actively push forward the practical cooperation under the BRI framework.

“China never interferes in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and never attach additional conditions to its assistance to Sri Lanka,” the Chinese Ambassador was quoted as saying in the statement.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.