Sri Lanka and China’s bilateral relationship has taken a major turn for the worse. Just ahead of the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Sri Lanka on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations, a notable Sri-Lankan lawyer and Member of Parliament Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has written a sternly-worded letter addressing the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The letter paints a detailed picture of the current stressful situation regarding Sri Lanka’s future in the form of a 45-point blunt worded statement. The letter remarks on the harrowing situation Sri Lanka is going through as it pressingly advises China’s President to curtail its economic invasion of the island nation. The letter throws light on the projects carried within the territory of Sri Lanka via Chinese funds and categorized the said projects as wasteful and imprudent. It further envisages that humongous commissions have been spent to lure corrupt politicians in furtherance of securing these projects. Adding coarse to the paste, the letter forewarned China of the consequence of its continued influence on the Sri Lankan politicians, hinting at the collective disappointment ensuing amongst the public against the ruling party which is likely to overthrow the current government.
The ties between the countries do not appear to be on a happy note. The MP of Sri Lanka, in his letter, has also voiced that if China does not comply with the initial agreements the new government, which Wijeyadasa is imminently confident about, would likely cancel the contract. Quoting straight from the sheet, “Transactions you have secured through corruption will be canceled and we hold no liability to pay back any loans obtained for such contracts. In the event of any restructuring, under no circumstances the period of any agreement will be permitted to exceed a period of 15 years from the date of the inception of such contracts,”. Furthermore, China is also accused of extensively using the ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy invariably pushing Sri Lanka into a deep debt trap. The debt trap certainly threatens the country’s sovereignty and independence and with China being the instigating force, Sri Lanka would serve as a meaty prey for China’s quest in becoming a world power.
The letter highlighting the venomous intent of China also underlined the debacles of the country’s own faulty governance. Rajapakshe blamed the two-time President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa for letting Sri Lanka get trapped under the Chinese debt. Revisiting the 2017 instance of handing over the Hambantota port to a Chinese firm for a 99 years lease as a debt swap amounting to 1.2$ billion, Rajapakshe blamed the gullible governance behind the country inching towards bankruptcy. Lastly, the letter also subtly mentions the collateral damage caused to Sri Lanka in the form of worsened relations with India, the US, and the EU. The extended control and involvement of China have alerted India and the US of an anticipated change in power of the island and therefore a major global power struggle is likely on the cards.