China insists it has lent sincere support to Sri Lanka

The spokesperson said that China stands ready to play a constructive role in helping Sri Lanka follow the path of sustainable development and diversify its economy. (Colombo Gazette) “As a principle, China and Sri Lanka are strategic cooperative partners, and we have lent sincere support to each other as always. In light of Sri Lanka’s needs, China provides assistance to the best of its ability to help Sri Lanka close financing gap, boost economic development, improve people’s livelihood and enhance its self-development capability. This has been applauded by the Sri Lankan government and people.” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Hua Chunying said that China attaches importance to its friendly cooperative relations with Sri Lanka and is willing to continue to cooperate with Sri Lanka in the economic, trade and other areas in the spirit of equality and mutual benefit. China insists its has lent “sincere support” to Sri Lanka and provides assistance to the best of its ability to help Sri Lanka close its financing gap, boost economic development, improve people’s livelihood and enhance its self-development capability.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said this in response to a question raised over reports that talks between China and Sri Lanka on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have reached a stalemate as Sri Lanka is worried that Chinese investments may make it indebted. read more

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Global cooperation vital to weigh benefits risk of genetically modified trees –

“It is very important that environmental risk assessment studies are conducted with protocols and methodologies agreed upon at national and international levels,” the study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. “It is also important that the results of such research are made widely available.”Potential traits of interest for GM trees are increased wood production, improved wood quality and resistance to insects, diseases and herbicides. Production and processing costs of wood or chips could also be reduced, as well as the financial and environmental costs for pulping. But deploying GM trees is not without risks, FAO warned. Transgene instability, plantation failure, poor wood quality, development of tolerance to the modified trait by insects or disease organisms and the escape of modified genes into natural ecosystems are potential risk factors.“Genetic modification is not intrinsically good or bad,” FAO forest genetic resources expert Pierre Sigaud said. “A regulatory framework to govern research and application of genetically modified forest trees on a case-by-case basis is essential. The issue goes beyond the country level, since pollen flow and seed dispersal do not take account of national boundaries, and since wood is a global commodity.” The study noted that research and applications of biotechnology in forestry are advancing rapidly, with the United States, France and Canada being the most active players among developed countries and India and China the most active among developing nations and those in transition.Overall, GM activities in forestry are taking place in at least 35 countries, with the vast majority apparently restricted to the laboratory with some supporting field trials, FAO said. Only China has reported the commercial release of GM trees – around 1.4 million plants of the populus variety on 300 to 500 hectares in 2002.Mr. Sigaud said it was not yet possible to reach conclusions on the potential impact of genetically modified forests because of the lack of reliable information. The economic value of forest products in global trade is far less than that of agricultural products, and the economic rationale for employing biotechnology in forestry has not yet been clearly demonstrated, he noted. read more

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