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    March 28, 2024

    Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena called upon the Asian countries to rededicate themselves to building an Asia, free from poverty where prosperity is equitably shared. Addressing the BOAO Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2024 in Hainan in China, he praised China's "miraculous success story of lifting millions of people from poverty to a higher living standard under the able leadership of President Xi Jinping," and added that concept provides a pathway for other countries faced with the problem of poverty.
    The Prime Minister called for new initiatives to ensure agricultural growth and food security, as it would not only ensure poverty eradication but also social harmony and peace. He emphasised the imperative need for harnessing renewable energy resources.
    Explaining Sri Lanka's expansion of Colombo Port, and Hambantota Port as well as Colombo Port City, of which new Colombo Financial Center, he said it could be a major financial hub ensuring rapid progress of not only Sri Lanka but also the countries in the region.
    Addressing the conference the Prime Minister commented as follows –
    “For us from Sri Lanka, we take this special opportunity to participate in an international event that looks to the future, an international event that accepts the reality of climate change, the wants of renewable energy, and to work together within the Asian borders but working together with all nations around the world.
    Firstly, I would like to thank President Xi Jinping, who has given him tremendous strength in the strong economy that grows and the leadership that has dedicated itself to the economic growth of China. Economic growth of China is economic growth of the world. Economic growth of the world will have to be addressed as we see, as mentioned by the Distinguished speakers of a new order. The new order comes on realities of what we can achieve and what we have achieved.
    Renewable energy, climate change has to be met, and other changes of a blue economy which are the important areas for the Asian countries. We have to work together in order to achieve these and succeed.
    From Sri Lanka, we have been participating in these programs that have been initiated and supported by our fellow leaders, countries across Asia. I would like to take one example of a success story that we all could carry together and carry to implement in order to reach better standards of living. The experiment, though it has been called a success story of bringing millions of Chinese people from poverty to better and high living standards, we all face issues of poverty. We all have faced issues of improving our agricultural produce in order to achieve food security. The miracle rice that has been produced in China today can increase production, higher levels of income for the farmers, as well as guarantee a strong future for our food security problems.
    I raise these two issues because over the years, over the decades, over the centuries, population has faced the challenges of food security, security of better environment and aspirations in order to achieve it.
    Today, we all know the BOAO conference represents the countries that produce almost 50% of the new investment that has flowed into renewable energy. Mr. Chairman, it is a promise for the future. It is a great trust that has been laid by the BOAO conference, countries that have joined to take forward the responsibility of sharing the future that can be on a trusted basis and targets that we can reach. With this, I would like to thank all the delegates who carried this message from today, once again, to our areas.
    Relax trade barriers, open areas for more tourism of different forms of tourism, new requirements on emissions, new plans and programs for renewable energy. These can take our planet to a future that is more secure and confident.
    With these few words, on behalf of Sri Lanka, I pledge our support to continue to work together as we have committed ourselves to the maritime lanes of the Indian Ocean to keep it free for all trade to flow from West East Africa to East of Asia.
    Sri Lanka's port development has taken a new turn of an advanced port development with the assistance of China, for which we appreciate. Sri Lankan, Colombo port will become a hub of a new developed port with financial instruments that could cater to the new demands that are growing among ourselves, among our countries, for development and investment, which is essential.
    This will change the present scenario from East Asia to East Africa, and the blue seas that we all could work together for the future that we face in a successful and a great joint program is what we look forward to.”
    President of National People's Congress of Chinese Communist Party, Zhao Leiji inaugurated the Conference which was attended by Presidents of Kazakhstan, Nauru and several others and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who is currently the President of the Global Green Growth Institute, attended the Conference.

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