While Sri Lanka awaits a response from China over Colombo’s request for debt restructuring amid the economic turmoil, Beijing has downplayed these critical requests and instead put ahead the agenda of human rights in the island nation.
This comes ahead of the next session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to be held in September.
In the op-ed which was disseminated from the Chinese embassy in Colombo, the Chinese focus turned on something entirely different where its shared its views on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
This comes ahead of the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
In a detailed Op-Ed by Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, he failed to address the debt restructuring of loans it has provided to Sri Lanka since it makes up more than 40 pc of the total Government to Government (GtoG) debt the country owes.
The Chinese side sugarcoated its statements by diplomatic words such as “extending support to the Sri Lankan government to relieve it from the economic crisis” but nothing more substantial so far, a diplomat lamented, reported Sunday Times.
In a hard-hitting response to the remarks of Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said on Saturday that his views were a violation of basic diplomatic etiquette and may be a personal trait or reflecting a larger national attitude.
The High Commission, which made a series of tweets, also referred to Qi’s remarks on the visit of a Chinese spy vessel to Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and said his imputing a geopolitical context to the visit of a purportedly scientific research vessel is a giveaway.
The High Commission also referred to reports of China’s debt-trap diplomacy and said “opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations”.
It said Sri Lanka, which is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country’s agenda.
“We have noted the remarks of the Chinese Ambassador. His violation of basic diplomatic etiquette may be a personal trait or reflect a larger national attitude. His view of Sri Lanka’s northern neighbour may be coloured by how his own country behaves.
India, we assure him,is very different. His imputing a geopolitical context to the visit of a purportedly scientific research vessel is a giveaway,” the Indian High Commission said. “Opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caution. Sri Lanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country’s agenda,” it added.
India had earlier rejected insinuations by China that it had exerted pressure on Colombo to defer the visit of a high-tech Chinese research vessel to Hambantota port and said Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and makes its own independent decisions.
“We reject the insinuations in the statement about India. Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and makes its own independent decisions,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said at a media briefing. Bagchi said India will make the best judgement about its security interests and it takes into account the prevailing situation in the region, especially in border areas.