International US Pompeo slams 'predator' China on Sri Lanka trip

Pompeo slams ‘predator’ China on Sri Lanka trip

Pompeo made his latest attack on China after talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on security cooperation to keep open vital Indian Ocean sea lanes just south of Sri Lanka.

Author

Date

Category

- Advertisement -

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s Communist government a “predator” Wednesday, during a trip to boost ties with Sri Lanka, which has received huge investment and diplomatic support from Beijing.

Pompeo made his latest attack on China after talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on security cooperation to keep open vital Indian Ocean sea lanes just south of Sri Lanka.

“A strong sovereign Sri Lanka is a powerful strategic partner for the United States on the world stage,” Pompeo told reporters as he wrapped up a 12-hour visit, the second stop on a four-nation tour.

Pompeo described how Washington has provided military training and recently gifted two coastguard vessels, contrasting its assistance with China.

- Advertisement -

“The Chinese Communist Party is a predator,” he declared.

The Chinese embassy in Colombo hit back, tweeting a promotional image for the “Aliens vs Predator” video game.

“Sorry Mr. Secretary Pompeo, we’re busy promoting China-Sri Lanka friendship and cooperation, not interested in your Alien v Predator game invitation,” it said.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena made no reference to China, but at a press conference with Pompeo, told reporters that the country maintains a non-aligned foreign policy.

Sri Lanka borrowed billons of dollars from China for infrastructure when Rajapaksa’s brother Mahinda was the country’s leader from 2005 until 2015.

Unable to service a $1.4 billion loan to build a deep sea port, the country was forced to lease the port to a Chinese firm for 99 years in 2017.

On Tuesday the Chinese embassy accused Pompeo of trying to “coerce and bully” Sri Lanka with his visit.

Earlier this month, Yang Jiechi, a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party politburo member, pledged more economic help to Sri Lanka when he was in Colombo.

Anti-China comments have been a key theme of Pompeo’s Asian tour this week, which began in India and will now take him on to the Maldives and Indonesia.

China has in the past helped Sri Lanka fight off allegations of human rights violations, particularly in the final months of a decades-long civil war, when the current president was the country’s top defence official.

Washington has insisted on credible investigations into charges that Sri Lankan troops killed at least 40,000 civilians as they crushed Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in in 2009.

Pompeo wrapped up his Sri Lanka visit by placing flowers and praying at a Roman Catholic church where 56 people were killed in jihadist suicide attacks on Easter Sunday last year.

Five Americans were among 279 people killed in the coordinated attacks on three churches and three hotels in and around Colombo.

aj/tw/oho/rma

© 1994-2020 Agence France-Presse
/AFP

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Josephine Teo: From May 1, Dependant’s Pass holders will need work pass for employment

Singapore — Manpower Minister Josephine Teo announced on Wednesday (March 3) tighter new rules for foreigners on Dependant’s Passes (DP) who want to work in Singapore. From May 1 of this year, they will need to obtain their own work passes, such...

😊 – Rest of the word = Smiley and happy: 😊 – Singapore= Symbol of anarchy

  I just saw a news clip in the Today newspaper, which said that Mr Louise Ng, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (GRC), was being investigated by the police for holding up a “smiley face”, encouraging...

Actor seen on Mediacorp’s Vasantham accused by budding artiste of wanting to sleep with him after “private show”

Update as of Mar 4:   In response to TISG’s queries, Selva said: “There have been troubling allegations surfacing recently. I simply wish to say, I did not send any inappropriate message via Facebook. I believe my account was hacked before this incident, which...

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

Theindependent