The United States on Thursday urged Sri Lanka to make “difficult but necessary” decisions to secure economic independence for long-term prosperity.
Ahead of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Colombo next week, Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Dean Thompson told reporters the United States wanted to partner with Sri Lanka on their common objectives of sustainable economic development and free and open economic development. Indo-Pacific.
The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographical region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam claim part of it.
“In the interest of strengthening our long-standing partnership with Sri Lanka and strengthening our long-term engagement in the region, we encourage Sri Lanka to consider the options we offer for transparent and sustainable economic development as opposed to discriminatory and opaque practices, ”Thompson said in a veiled reference to China.
“We urge Sri Lanka to take difficult but necessary decisions to secure its economic independence for long-term prosperity, and we are ready to work with Sri Lanka for its economic development and growth,” he said. .
In Colombo, Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to underscore the United States’ commitment to a strong, independent and democratic Sri Lanka, Thompson said.
“We want to join Sri Lanka on our common goals of sustainable economic development and a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.
During his meetings, he said the secretary will also focus on people-to-people ties, shared commitment to democracy and the importance of regional cooperation in maritime security.
“We will continue to urge Sri Lanka to advance democratic governance, human rights, reconciliation, religious freedom and justice, which promote the long-term stability and prosperity of the country and ensure the dignity and equality for all of Sri Lanka, ”said Thompson.
To a question, he said that the United States was closely monitoring developments in Sri Lanka on human rights issues. The secretary will, of course, be raising issues related to human rights, reconciliation and the United States’ shared commitment to democracy, he said.
“Our partnership with Sri Lanka goes back a long way, through many different eras, and right now we think they are at some point in making choices about where to go,” he said. he declares.
“During the meetings, the secretary of state will also discuss issues related to China,” he said in response to another question.