The United States issued, possibly its strongest warning yet to Sri Lanka. With the warning issued from the Vice President of the United States.
US Vice President Mike Pence warned that the Hambantota Port may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy.
The White House quoted the US Vice President as saying this in a speech at the Hudson Institute on Thursday.
He said that China uses so-called “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence today, and that the country is offering hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to governments from Asia, Africa, Europe and even Latin America. Yet, he says, the terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the benefits invariably flow overwhelmingly to Beijing.
The text of the speech quotes US President Donald Trump’s right hand man as saying that Sri Lanka took on “massive debt” to let Chinese state companies build a port of questionable commercial value.
He was referring to the Hambantota Port, which at the time it was constructed, was seen as a “white elephant” and a loss making venture.
“Two years ago, that country (Sri Lanka) could no longer afford its payments, so Beijing pressured Sri Lanka to deliver the new port directly into Chinese hands. It may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy,” he said in his speech.
The Chinese Embassy in Colombo consistently denied these reports of a hidden agenda linked to the Hambantota Port deal.