Colombo: China on Tuesday agreed to fund the construction of Sri Lanka's new Colombo-Jaffna expressway as it signed several bilateral agreements with the island nation during the visit of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The agreement on the new expressway to Jaffna, capital city of the northern province which had been a stronghold of Tamil rebels for many years, was among several other bilateral agreements entered during the visit of President Rajapaksa.

The Sri Lankan President, who arrived in China on Monday on a 4-day state visit, held bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. This is Rajapaksa's first visit after China's new leadership headed by Xi assumed power in March.

Assistance would also come from China towards extending the southern highway and a new expressway between the capital Colombo and the north western capital of Kurunegala. China is currently Sri Lanka's largest aid giver with over 1 billion dollars disbursed in 2012.

Sri Lanka's second international airport and the new sea port located in Rajapaksa's home district of Hambantota are also Chinese funded. In addition to providing loans to the war-ravaged country to develop infrastructure, Chinese enterprises are also active in building highways, railroad systems, harbours as well as energy facilities in the country.


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