Chinese embassy in Colombo accuses US of expanding military bases – Community News
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Chinese embassy in Colombo accuses US of expanding military bases

Respond Sharp on a Pentagon report on security developments involving China, with the Asian giant flagging the “probable consideration” of overseas military bases in countries like Sri Lanka, the Chinese embassy in Colombo accused the United States of widespread military occupation.

“A thief believes that everyone steals. Despite the withdrawal of US military bases and troops from Afghanistan, the US continues to maintain about 750 military bases abroad. These bases are precious in a number of ways: financially, politically, socially and environmentally,” the Colombo-based embassy said on Twitter, in response to a tweet by a local journalist on the US Department of Defense report. The Chinese mission’s official address also shared a map of “US controlled military bases”.

The Chinese embassy’s response comes amid a well-known geopolitical battle between the US and China for more influence in the strategic region of the Indian Ocean. The US’s preoccupation with China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka has been consistent throughout the post-war decade, regardless of the party in power. During a visit to Colombo in October 2020, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of the Donald Trump administration, called China a “predator” in Sri Lanka, while the US, he said, was a “friend”.

The tweet from the Chinese embassy is not the first time the clash between China and the US has taken place in Sri Lanka. US Ambassador to Colombo Alaina B. Teplitz, who recently ended her term in office, has openly criticized Chinese projects. Out of concern over legislation passed in Sri Lanka to govern the China-backed port city in the capital Colombo, she had noted that there were “openings for either corrupt influences or potential for illegal financing, money laundering and the like. American companies will be wary of that.” China, in turn, accused the US ambassador of “violating diplomatic protocol” and suggested that the US “stop the addiction” to “preaching” and “double standards”.

While past China-backed projects within Sri Lanka have raised questions about due process and transparency, there is currently growing opposition to US involvement in a major energy deal on the island. Last month, the Ceylon Electricity Board agreed to sell a 40% stake in a power plant in Kerawelapitiya, near Colombo, to US New Fortress Energy, and unions are opposing the move they say the US would take. a monopoly on the sale of LNG to the country.

Despite disagreements with the US over wartime rights violations in Sri Lanka, and despite Washington’s continued concern over Colombo’s proximity to Beijing, the ruling Rajapaksa government has maintained close ties with the US.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was also formerly a US citizen. He gave up his US citizenship to meet a legal requirement to become president in 2019. Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and the US.

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