China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi says his country will align its maritime silk road project with Sri Lanka's development plans to enable the island nation to become a shipping hub in the Indian Ocean.

Wang's comments came Friday after meeting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, starting a two-day visit. It is a sign of Sri Lanka's new government's increasing receptiveness to Chinese projects having previously suspended some to investigate corruption and possible environmental hazards.

Chinese President Xi Jinping won support for the silk road project from Sri Lanka's former pro-China leader Mahinda Rajapaksa during a visit in 2013.

The silk road is seen as a way of encircling India and controlling port access along sea lanes linking the energy-rich Persian Gulf and economic centers in eastern China.