China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Thursday (21 July) described as baseless a US official’s claim that China was responsible for Sri Lanka’s current socioeconomic woes.
Responding to a question from AFP at China’s ‘regular’ press conference in Beijing, Wang said, “The US official’s groundless accusation against China cannot hide the truth from people in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world, nor can it hold back the deepening of China-Sri Lanka friendly cooperation.”
The query posed by AFP was, “CIA’s chief William Burns said at a security forum yesterday (Wednesday 20 July) that Sri Lanka’s decision to take on debt-heavy Chinese investment was a factor its economic troubles. Do you have any response to his remarks?”
Wang further said, “China and Sri Lanka are close neighbours with traditional friendship. We have always respected, trusted and supported each other, established the strategic cooperative partnership based on sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship and conducted comprehensive, mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas. China will as always follow a friendly policy toward Sri Lanka. We stand ready to support and help the efforts of the Sri Lankan Government and people in stabilising the situation and revitalizing the economy to the best of our capacity, and bring bilateral relations to new heights.”
By Paneetha Ameresekere