- According to the Associated Press, Secretary Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrived in Sri Lanka.
- One of Secretary Pompeo’s main purposes for his visit to Sri Lanka was to provide Sri Lanka with a total of $480 million in financial aid.
- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya and his party originally strongly opposed the signing of this cooperation agreement with the United States.
After finishing his visit to India, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Sri Lanka late on the 27th to prepare for the meeting with the country’s president and prime minister on the 28th. The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka also issued a statement criticizing Pompeo’s visit before his arrival.
According to the Associated Press, Secretary Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrived in Sri Lanka.
Prior to this, the two visited India and met with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Pompeo is expected to meet with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on the 28th.
The Associated Press reported that Secretary Pompeo expects to put pressure on Sri Lanka and Maldives, hoping that these two countries will be alert to China’s predatory investment. Sri Lanka and China have always had close relations.
Before Secretary Pompeo arrived in Sri Lanka, Yang Jiechi, Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office of the Chinese Communist Party, led a high-level delegation to visit Sri Lanka earlier this month. The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka stated in a statement that China provides assistance in Sri Lanka’s epidemic prevention and economic revitalization.
Dean Thompson, a senior official close to Secretary Pompeo, said “we encourage Sri Lanka to review the options we offer for transparent and sustainable economic development in contrast to discriminatory and opaque practices.”
The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka issued a statement on Thompson’s remarks on October 26, criticizing him for blatantly violating diplomatic common sense, instigating and interfering in China-Sri Lanka relations, and even urging Sri Lanka “to make difficult but necessary decisions” on its foreign relations.
U.S. Provides Financial Aid to Sri Lanka
According to a report by news sources, one of Secretary Pompeo’s main purposes for his visit to Sri Lanka was to provide Sri Lanka with a total of $480 million in financial aid.
The financial aid is expected to be used to repair Sri Lanka’s fragile transportation construction and improve Sri Lanka’s land management issues.
The previous Sri Lankan government originally approved this financial aid, but it was forced to postpone the implementation of the relevant procedures because it triggered offenses from all walks of life.
Opponents claim that accepting US financial aid may harm Sri Lanka’s national security and allow the United States to purchase land in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya and his party originally strongly opposed the signing of this cooperation agreement with the United States before the country’s election on August 5. However, he has not publicly expressed his views on this issue after he was elected president. Related discussions are still suspended in Sri Lanka’s parliament.
The day before Secretary Pompeo’s arrival in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s Marxist JVP Party held a demonstration outside the US Embassy and criticized the US for interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs through financial aid.
The US Embassy in Sri Lanka told reporters that Secretary Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka was to show the country’s commitment to the United States and to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region with Sri Lanka.
Because of Sri Lanka’s strategic position, the United States intends to compete with China for its influence in the country.