Pompeo called China a hunter during his visit to Sri Lanka

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called China's communist government a "hunter" during a trip to boost ties with Sri Lanka, which has huge investment and diplomatic support from Beijing.

 

Pompeo called China a "hunter" during his visit to Sri Lanka

Pompeo launched his latest attack on China after talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on security co-operation to keep open ports in the Indian Ocean just south of Sri Lanka.

 

"A strong sovereign Sri Lanka is a powerful strategic partner for the United States globally," Pompeo told reporters.

 

Pompeo described how Washington has provided military training and, in addition to its recent assistance to China, has donated two Coast Guard ships.

 

"The Chinese Communist Party is a hunter," he declared.

 

The Chinese embassy in Colombo retreated by tweeting a promotional image for the "Aliens vs. Predator" video game.

 

It said, "Mr. Secretary Pompeo, we are committed to promoting Sino-Sri Lankan friendship and cooperation. Your aliens are not interested in invitations to hunting."

 

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena made no reference to China, but told reporters at a press conference with Pompeo that the country maintains a non-aligned foreign policy.

 

Sri Lanka borrowed billions of dollars from China for infrastructure when Rajapaksa brother Mahinda was the country's leader from 2005 to 2015.

 

Unable to provide a 1.4 billion loan to build a deep-sea port, the country was forced’ in 2017 to lease the port to a Chinese company for 99 years.

 

On Tuesday, the Chinese embassy accused Pompeo of trying to "coerce and bully" Sri Lanka with his visit.

 

Earlier this month, Yang Jiechi, a high-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo, promised more economic aid to Sri Lanka while in Colombo.

 

Anti-China comments in China this week have been a key topic of Pompeo's Asian tour, which began in India and will now take him to the Maldives and Indonesia.

 

In the past, China has helped Sri Lanka deal with allegations of human rights abuses, especially in the last months of decades of civil war, when the current president was the country's top defense official.

 

Washington has insisted on a credible investigation into allegations that Sri Lankan troops killed at least 40,000 civilians when they crushed Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in 2009.

 

Pompeo wrapped up his visit to Sri Lanka by laying flowers and praying at a Roman Catholic church where 56 people were killed’ in jihadist suicide attacks on Easter Sunday last year.

 

Five Americans were among 279 people killed in coordinated attacks on three churches and three hotels in and around Colombo.


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