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Ahead of Pompeo visit, China tells US not to bully Sri Lanka

COLOMBO: China has raised objections to what it called US bullying of Sri Lanka after Washington said the Indian Ocean island must make “difficult but necessary choices” regarding its ties with China.

The comments by the Chinese embassy in Colombo came shortly before the arrival on Tuesday of US secretary of state MikePompeo, who is on a an Asian tour aimed at pushing back against China’s growing influence in the region.

“We are firmly opposed to the US taking the opportunity of the state secretary’s visit to sow and interfere in China-Sri Lanka relations, and to coerce and bully Sri Lanka,” the embassy said on Monday.

China has invested billions of dollars in infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at linking Asia, Europe and beyond, to the alarm of India and the US. The embassy said China’s ties with Sri Lanka stretched back 2,000 years and the two countries did not need a third party to dictate terms.
Ahead of Pompeo’s trip, Dean Thompson, a state department official, said Sri Lanka must make tough choices to secure its economic independence over the longer term

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