US can’t offer what China can to Sri Lanka: expert
Posted on October 28th, 2020

By Yang Sheng Source: Global Times

Aerial photo taken on Sept. 23, 2020 shows a view of the construction site of the Colombo Port City in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo:Xinhua

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Sri Lanka to pressure the South Asian country to stand with the US in containing China, but China has expressed strong confidence in its ties with Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

A Chinese expert said the US has underestimated the interests that other countries can get from the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a routine press conference on Wednesday that “It is so typical for some US officials to force small- and medium-sized countries to choose sides.” 

“I noticed an article written by a Sri Lankan diplomat saying the country will handle foreign relations according to its Constitution, laws and people’s will, and doesn’t need any external lecturing on state governance,” he said.

Pompeo said the US vision for Sri Lanka is “very different” from that of “predator” China in Colombo on Tuesday, as he met the leadership of the South Asian country. Pompeo, who became the highest ranking official from the Trump administration to visit Sri Lanka, said that the US and Sri Lanka “shared a vision for democracy.” 

Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Pompeo’s nonsense stigmatization of China will be rejected by not only Sri Lanka but most countries along the routes of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative in the region.

Sri Lanka is at a significant location of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and the economic interests that the country gets from cooperating with China are something that it has never gained from either the US or India. By using Cold War-style ideological tricks, Pompeo will fail to instigate those countries against China, he said.

China and Sri Lanka are traditional friendly neighbors. We have been developing bilateral relations based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and conducting friendly cooperation based on equal consultation and mutual benefits, which has substantively improved the well-being of people in Sri Lanka, Wang said at the press conference. 

Hu said Sri Lanka’s leaders, whether pro-India or pro-China, all understand that the destiny of the country’s economy is intertwined with China, and they are receiving unprecedented economic benefits from development opportunities from its participation in the Belt and Road.  

“These are facts that cannot be shaken by any smear. We will continue working with Sri Lanka to deepen and expand the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, deliver benefits to the two peoples, and contribute to regional peace and stability,” Wang said.

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