Sri Lanka firmly committed to ‘One China’ policy, says Ranil

notes that countries ‘must refrain from provocations that further escalate current global tensions’

notes that countries ‘must refrain from provocations that further escalate current global tensions’

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday reaffirmed the island nation’s commitment to the “One China policy” and asked countries to “abstain from provocation,” in a message apparently addressed to the United States, days after the controversial visit by Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

In a series of tweets, Mr Wickremesinghe said: “While meeting with China’s ambassador HE Qi Zhenghong, I reiterated Sri Lanka’s firm commitment to the One China Policy, as well as to the UN Charter’s principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. . of nations. Countries should refrain from provocations that further escalate current global tensions. Mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries are important foundations for peaceful cooperation and non-confrontation.” The Chinese ambassador “discussed how to further strengthen bilateral relations,” the president’s office later said in a statement about their meeting held Wednesday afternoon, hours after Mr Wickremesinghe delivered his inaugural address following his election as president. .

On July 20, a majority of lawmakers supported the six-time prime minister and senior politician for the presidency after the top office became vacant after mass civilian protests ousted former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the wake of a severe economic downturn. Ambassador Qi met Mr. Wickremesinghe on July 22 to deliver a congratulatory message from Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of the first world leaders to reach out to Mr. Wickremesinghe. “I attach great importance to the development of relations between China and Sri Lanka and stand ready to support and assist President Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan people in their efforts within our means,” President Xi had said in his message.

Mr Wickremesinghe, in his maiden speech as president on Wednesday, highlighted Indian aid during the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and regretted that traditional ties between Sri Lanka and Japan had been adversely affected by the [Rajapaksa] government opposition to Japanese projects. In particular, China found no mention in the address. He quoted a visiting Tibetan monk as saying that only unity could solve the crisis.

Chinese ship

The developments come even as Sri Lanka braves a deeper economic crisis and waits for assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance. The IMF has assured Sri Lanka based on its success in restructuring its external debt with its creditors, including government bondholders – to whom Colombo owes nearly half of its external loans – multilateral agencies and major bilateral lenders such as China, Japan, and India. The government has also requested bridge funding from India and China to cope in the coming months, but neither partner has responded positively so far.

Meanwhile, Colombo appears to be on a tightrope as the competing geostrategic interests of India and China re-emerge. Earlier this week, New Delhi expressed concern to President Wickremesinghe over the planned arrival of Yuan Wang 5 – a Chinese vessel involved in space and satellite tracking systems – in the southern port of Hambantota on Aug. 11. said a government spokesman. A Defense Department official said “there is no change yet” about the ship’s scheduled arrival on Thursday.

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