President Xi Jinping told his Sri Lankan counterpart on Friday that China would look to deepen "mutual trust" with Colombo, which is working to recover from its worst-ever economic crisis.

Sri Lanka defaulted on its $46 billion debt last year, at a time when months of food and fuel shortages were making life a misery for the island nation's 22 million people.

China is Sri Lanka's biggest creditor and must give its approval for any proposal by Colombo to restructure its debt.

Last week, the Sri Lankan deputy finance minister said the state-owned Export-Import Bank of China had given its green light for a reorganisation of the country's finances.

Xi and Ranil Wickremesinghe held talks on Friday in Beijing after China hosted 130 government representatives for a forum of its vast Belt and Road trade and infrastructure initiative.

"Under (your) leadership, Sri Lanka has gone through its most difficult period, and its economy and society have resumed orderly development," Xi said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

"I am willing to work with (you) to consolidate political mutual trust between our two sides (and) jointly build a high-quality Belt and Road," he added.

Xi said Beijing was ready to "promote a China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership built on sincere mutual assistance and everlasting friendship, to continuously achieve new progress".

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that it had reached agreement with Colombo to disburse the second tranche of a $3 billion loan to aid the country's recovery.