ECONOMYNEXT – Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his willingness to the government of Sri Lanka’s new president Ranil Wickremesinghe to the best of his ability for the island nation’s leader and its people. 

Jinping’s congratulatory message, the first from a foreign country, came as the new president was widely condemned for his ordering the island nation’s military to attack and remove the protesters from the main protest site near the presidential secretariat. 

“I attach great importance to the development of China-Sri Lanka relations, and am willing to provide support and assistance to the best of my ability for you and the Sri Lankan people in your efforts,” Jinping said in a statement.

“I believe that under your leadership, Sri Lanka will be able to overcome temporary difficulties and advance the process of economic and social recovery.”

“It is hoped that the two sides will carry forward the traditional friendship, consolidate political mutual trust, and push forward the strategic cooperative partnership of sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship between two countries.”

Wickremesinghe has been elected as the president by the parliament for the rest of the tenure of former leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and resigned from Singapore. Rajapaksa fled after three months of the protests for his failure to address economic crisis, which later turned into a political crisis.

The same protesters who forced Rajapaksa to flee were attacked by the military under the state of emergency declared by Rajapaksa.

China has invested billions of dollars, but pressure from India and the West has been a deterrent for successive Sri Lankan government deal with China, which is accused of dragging Sri Lanka into a debt trap.

India and the United Stated have raised concerns over increasing Chinese presence in Sri Lanka which they say could be a security threat for Indian Ocean. China has said its interest in Sri Lanka is only commercial. (Colombo/July 23/2022)