BEIJING, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday held a phone conversation with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on bilateral ties at the latter's request.
In the phone call, Li noted that the two countries enjoy profound traditional friendship and are strategic cooperative partners.
China is ready to consolidate political mutual trust with Sri Lanka, strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance among developing countries, deepen practical cooperation in various fields and push for sound and stable development of bilateral relations, Li said.
Noting that China empathizes with Sri Lanka for the difficulties and challenges facing the South Asian country, Li said that China is ready to provide much-needed livelihood assistance for Sri Lanka within its capacity, Li said.
China is ready to play a constructive role in Sri Lanka's stable socio-economic development based on the principle of non-interference in its internal affairs and on the premise of respecting Sri Lanka's will, Li said.
China supports continuous progress in bilateral practical cooperation projects, and hopes for an early start of the negotiation and signing of their free trade agreement, so as to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation, Li added.
For his part, Rajapaksa thanked China for providing emergency humanitarian assistance for Sri Lanka and appreciated China's strong support to Sri Lanka when it is facing difficulties.
Sri Lanka is ready to strengthen cooperation with China in finance, economy, trade and tourism, advance the negotiation of the bilateral free trade agreement, and deepen bilateral cooperation, he said.