Posted on June 24th, 2022


The preceding essay recorded the diplomatic exchanges between the   government of USA and the government of Sri Lanka after Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister in May 2022. In the same month, Ambassador, Julie Chung met with several officials in Colombo. These interviews were mentioned in the media, often accompanied with a  prominent photo. This gave USA further visibility in the island. It was intended to show that once again the USA had come to stay in Sri Lanka.

Julie Chung, the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka had met with Ranil Wickremesinghe even before he became Prime Minister. Ambassador Chung had met with UNP Leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe on March 21 at the latter’s private residence in Colombo, reported the media. The official Twitter account of Ambassador Julie Chung said, Thank you RW for meeting with me to discuss ways the U.S. and Sri Lanka can work together to find sustainable solutions to today’s urgent economic challenges .

U.S. Ambassador Chung called on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena in Parliament, on May 27. This was her first meeting with the Speaker.The U.S. Ambassador said that she hopes the government, including the new Prime Minister, would be able to bring about political stability and overcome the current economic crisis, reported the media.

 The Ambassador also emphasized the need to carry out the political reforms desired by the people and to safeguard democracy in the country.She also wished to enhance relations between the two countries through the Sri Lanka-USA Parliamentary Friendship Association. The Speaker expressed his gratitude to the United States of America for its continued support to strengthening democracy in Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Julie Chung met Foreign Minister GL Pieris. She told him that the United States is a friend of Sri Lanka and United States will continue to support Sri Lanka during this difficult time. U.S. Ambassador met with Justice Minister Ali Sabry and discussed their ‘shared commitment’ to the rule of law. Ambassador Chung met Kanchana Wijesekera, Minister for energy and handed over a US grant of USD 19 million for use in the power and energy sector. Newspapers carried a photo of Chung and Wijesekera.

Ambassador Chung met the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leaders on May 14to discuss the current crisis in the country. The Ambassador visited the party’s Pelawatta head office and held discussions with JVP leader Anura Dissanayake and Information Secretary Vijitha Herath. Ambassador Chung said she met with the JVP Leaders to discuss the urgent challenges facing Sri Lankans.

 The US delegation and the JVP leaders spent about an hour discussing the current economic, political and social crisis in Sri Lanka. I continue to meet with a wide range of political representatives to encourage the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to move toward solutions to the economic crisis,” the Ambassador said in a tweet.

Ambassador Chung met with Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne at the Navy Headquarters on 20th May 2022. It was the first official interaction between them, said the media. During the cordial meeting, the U.S. Ambassador and Commander of the Navy exchanged views on several matters of bilateral importance, also the expeditious transfer of Ex U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro which was undergoing refurbishment at Seattle, U.S.

US ambassador called on Commander of the Air force and discussed bilateral issues. The news report carried a photo of the two at the meeting.

Ambassador Chung met with the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka. Ms Chung said that the U.S. is committed to working with the local partners to foster a Sri Lankan economy that is sustainable, innovative and inclusive. She further discussed with AmCham ways to increase the prosperity of all Sri Lankans, reported the media.

USA also made well publicized donations, during this period. The aid was routed through U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

In April 2022, it was announced that the Sri Lanka Institute of Biotechnology (SLIBTEC) will collaborate with the USAID to boost innovation in the biotechnology sector by establishing Sri Lanka’s first Biotechnology Innovation Park. Technical expertise will be provided through USAID’s PARTNER project for the next two years. SLIBTEC will use this support to develop its operational framework. PARTNER will also provide support in areas such as the park design, research management policy and training opportunities.

In June 2022 it was announced that USAID is partnering with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) and the Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL) to strengthen Sri Lanka’s accounting and auditing sectors. This partnership will train approximately 600 public sector accountants and audit professionals and 1,200 officers on IT applications and other platforms. The training, conducted in all nine provinces, will strengthen the capacity of public sector accounting and auditing professionals on the recent developments and applications of SLPSAS 11-20, enhancing public sector financial management functions.

On June 15 Ambassador Chung attended a signing ceremony for an agreement that will provide technical assistance to VEGA Innovations to help them further develop Sri Lanka’s electric vehicle sector.

 VEGA Innovations is a Sri Lanka-based electric vehicle automobile manufacturer of electric two-wheelers, three-wheelers, supercars, and electric vehicle chargers. It provides electric vehicles (EV) research and development services to clients throughout the world, as well as designing and manufacturing EV components such as high-performance inverters, drive trains, and battery packs.

The agreement, to be funded by USAID, will support VEGA Innovations’ efforts to promote the adoption of electrical vehicles, including electric tuk tuks”. It will also help pilot a charging network for electric vehicles and support the manufacturing of locally designed batteries and inverters.

On June 13 Ambassador Chung attended the signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sri Lankan Department of Agriculture, for a $27 million project that aims to double the milk production of Sri Lankan dairy farmers participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress initiative. The project began in late 2017 and has already benefited 25,000 Sri Lankan dairy farmers, increasing their milk production by an average of 68 percent to date.

The Embassy of the United States of America announced in June 2022 that the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) had approved $120 million  for helping small and medium-sized businesses .

For seventy years, the United States has provided foreign assistance, loans, and trade opportunities to help grow the Sri Lankan economy and support the Sri Lankan people,” said Ambassador Chung, when inaugurating this project. 

The projects include a $100 million direct loan to the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, to expand lending to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and address the credit gap for women-owned businesses, which represent 25% of MSMEs in Sri Lanka.

A $15 million loan was given to BPPL Holdings PLC, a polyester yarn manufacturer incorporating recycled plastic materials.  The loan will support increased production and strengthen Sri Lanka’s recycling infrastructure in support of efforts to reduce plastic waste in Sri Lanka. A $5 million loan went to Ma’s Tropical Food Processing (Private) Limited, a sustainable food company, to finance its expansion and grow its supplier network. 

USA is now becoming aware of the need to recognize the cultural interests in the countries it wishes to dominate.  Ambassador Chung visited Kandy in March to preside over   events marking two milestones in the United States’ long-standing support to preserving Sri Lanka’s diverse cultural heritage.

On 14 March, Ambassador Chung and University of Peradeniya Vice Chancellor held a closing ceremony for the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) project that documented and preserved four traditional ritual dance forms and related crafts.

The USD 116,000 grant, initiated in 2016, supported the university’s effort to preserve and to share the following performing arts traditions: 1) upcountry Kandyan Kohomba Kankariya dance, 2) Northern and Eastern Tamil Koothu dance drama, 3) Adivasi rituals and cultural practices from Eastern Province, and 4) a southern dance-drama rituals and performance from the Kolam tradition in Southern Province. Recordings of these intangible forms of Sri Lanka’s heritage are now archived under the Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Arts, and University of Peradeniya.

Since 2001, the AFCP has funded 14 projects in Sri Lanka, including the conservation of the Rajagala Buddhist forest monastery, the preservation of Buddhist, Hindu, and other collections in the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum, and the restoration of the Batticaloa Dutch Fort. The preservation of the intangible heritage of ritual music and dance forms of the Adivasi, Tamil, and Buddhist communities discussed above was one of these projects.

.Then on March 15, Ambassador Chung and Director General of Archeology launched a new project, a $265,000 grant for the conservation of the Kings’ Palace in the Dalada Maligawa premises.

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