china-cartoon4China will expand its presence in Sri Lanka after signing a contract in Beijing on Tuesday to deliver Sri Lanka’s first communications satellite.

China Great Wall Industry Corp – the nation’s only authorized provider of commercial satellite launch services to the global market – and SupremeSAT Ltd, a Sri Lankan satellite operator, will provide the satellite in the near future.

President Xi Jinping and visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa witnessed the signing of the contract after meeting on Tuesday. The two countries pledged to expand bilateral trade, investment and cooperation in agriculture, space technology and infrastructure.

Xi said China will continue to support and seek common development with Sri Lanka for the benefit of both countries’ people.

Rajapaksa, making his sixth visit to China since taking office in 2005, said Sri Lanka regards China as an important partner and hopes to learn from China’s experience and enhance the two countries’ friendly cooperation.

Bilateral trade between China and the South Asian country reached $2.68 billion in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 19.6 percent. The Chinese company will deliver a communications satellite based on the DFH-4 satellite platform, providing telecommunications and broadcasting services to Sri Lanka and its neighboring countries and regions.