By Easwaran Rutnam
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Sri Lanka today that China is a predator and continues to violate sovereignty on land and at sea.
Pompeo was in Sri Lanka today on an invitation extended by his Sri Lankan counterpart, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
At a joint media conference held at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo today, Pompeo said that the US comes as a friend and a partner.
He said the US wants to take the partnership with Sri Lanka forward based on democratic values.
“We want the people of Sri Lanka to have sovereignty and independence. We want them to be successful, we want sustainable development for them. We think the US as a friend and partner offers exactly that,” he said.
Pompeo said that democracies like the US and Sri Lanka have a shared vision for free and open shipping lanes.
“These are visions the people of Sri Lanka share with the people of the United States. The Chinese have a different vision. We want to make sure the people of Sri Lanka can exercise their sovereign right to remain independent,” he said.
Concerns have been raised over the years on the Chinese presence in Sri Lanka, in particular over the lack of transparency with its financial dealings in Sri Lanka.
Pompeo said that the US is looking at broadening its relationship with Sri Lanka and had discussions in this regard during talks in Colombo.
“We had a wide range of discussions on security corporation which helps keep safe some of the vital sea lanes open. A strong sovereignty Sri Lanka is a powerful and strategic partner for the United States,” he added.
He also noted the importance of promoting accountability and reconciliation and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)