Neither successful nor diplomatic

A sly strategy of the Ambassador of the United States has been successful. That’s diplomacy. Well-experienced diplomat, as the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina B. Teplitz threw remarks on China in recently. Consequently, Chinese embassy officials’ eyes were reddened, like wasps stirring after throwing a stone at their cage. We feel that the response from the Chinese Embassy was not appropriate and less-professional. The problem is why Chinese diplomats choose anger when they have a path to respond impartially and constructively. No matter how economically developed, this emotional behaviour can cause that development to collapse in a very short period. Alas, if so, the century of Asia could only be a myth.

A few weeks ago, the acting Chinese Ambassador (chargé d’affaires) gave his usual anti-US remarks in an “interview” with a Sri Lankan daily. In response, the US ambassador gave an “interview” to the same newspaper, presenting the American ideology.

It can be observed that both these interviews are based on the same level of very carefully selected questions and very carefully crafted answers. However, both countries are well aware of the importance of Sri Lanka. At present, every possible effort is being made by them to extend its power to the maximum possible throughout the country. This is the reality that is being explained to us by the city being built on the reclaimed land at the periphery of old Colombo city as well as the huge embassy premises being built on the US property in Colombo.

If Sri Lanka is more efficient and strategic, it is possible to seize the most of this opportunity. But if this opportunity is spoiled by short-sighted extremists, Sri Lanka will inevitably fall prey to the powers that be. The bitter truth is that Sri Lanka has suffered for decades as a victim of Indian politics. Unfortunately, regarding the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka, India has changed its bottle but never thought of changing the old rotten wine. If Sri Lanka becomes a gambling den of several other powerful states within a short period, this country will be even more helpless.

However, the Chinese Embassy’s response to the key points flagged by the US ambassador was neither successful nor diplomatic. It is a written attack based merely on sentimentality. It does not show any professionalism. Unfortunately, almost all the relevant points required explanations were omitted. Development projects, especially those offered by China, were awarded only to Chinese companies and the lack of transparency in the financial transactions of those projects was highlighted by the US Ambassador. China, we believe, should respond to such an allegation based on data. But the Chinese embassy has forgotten that basic financial principle in its response. It is laughable to accuse the American Ambassador of violating diplomatic protocol merely for quoting the data published on the public domain.

We must emphasize here that the incumbent President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has made it very clear that Sri Lanka pursues its longstanding neutral foreign policy. Also, Sri Lanka has reiterated the importance of maintaining the Indian Ocean as a peace zone. Subject to these basic principles, Sri Lanka needs important and disciplined friends. Different countries may have conflicts for various political reasons. But we respect the fact that those conflicts are kept away from this beautiful island and its territorial waters.

Sri Lanka does not need opportunists who are harassing the country and creating ugly political turmoil. At the same time, Sri Lanka does not want those who bribe the worst thieves in the country and have ulterior motives to weaken the country economically and turn it into a country that depends only on the manipulator. A country that has lived with blood and tears for decades, Sri Lanka needs sincere and genuine friends. They should prove their qualitative friendship through their actions, not by beautiful but empty words or deceptive emotions. (SL Guardian)

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