Opposition warns against US-China rift involving Sri Lanka

Opposition warns against US-China rift involving Sri Lanka

Opposition warns against US-China rift involving Sri Lanka

Written by Staff Writer

29 Oct, 2020 | 8:02 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Government and opposition lawmakers have expressed challenging views on US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka this week.

The US had said that the visit to Sri Lanka as part of its visit to the Asian region, was to counter China’s growing global influence.

“What will happen to us when we heap praise on one country and criticize another?” Harsha de Silva, a Samagi Jana Balawegaya parliamentarian said.

He pointed out that China and the US have involved in a tough exchange of words in Sri Lanka.

“When China was accused of being a predator, it hit back (on Twitter) less than 45 minutes after the criticism was made,” De Silva said.

However, state minister Nalaka Godahewa said the government would protect the sovereignty of the country.

“We will not practice the act of striking secret deals, unlike the previous government,” Godahewa told reporters on Thursday.

Minister Wimal Weerawansa also pointed out that the President had conveyed the non-aligned foreign policy of Sri Lanka during Pompeo’s visit.

“The influence exerted by the US State Secretary towards India to enter into agreements was not exerted on us,” the leader of the National Freedom Front added.

He stressed that the US Millenium Challenge Corporation agreement will not be signed under the current administration.

“We will not be part of a government that supports such agreements as well,” Weerawansa insisted.

He claimed that the US State Secretary’s visit was not based on an invitation extended by the Sri Lanka government.

However, another minister Mahinda Amaraweera denied such claims.

“His arrival happened after an invitation given by our Minister of Foreign relations,” the environment minister told reporters.

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