US Vice President warns about Hambantota Port | Sunday Observer

US Vice President warns about Hambantota Port

Amidst the ongoing battle for influence between Unites States and China on the global stage becoming a major policy concern in recent months, US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday struck a note of caution on Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.

According to the CNN, Pence has warned that Sri Lanka’s southern Port may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy. However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently assured the local business community that there is no issue of Chinese militarisation at the Hambantota Port as it is presently being manned by the Sri Lanka’s Navy, the sole military force responsible for the security of the port.

“In particular, Pence referenced Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka. It was commissioned by the local government with Chinese funds in 2010 but when Sri Lanka was unable to pay back their loans, a Chinese state-owned company took ownership,” the CNN report stated.

Launching a broad attack against Beijing on Thursday, the US vice president repeated claims that Beijing is using billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to countries across the world to tie them to the Chinese government, a practice termed “debt diplomacy.”

“The terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the benefits flow overwhelmingly to Beijing,” Pence said. \ He also accused China of “predatory” economic practices, military aggression against the US and of trying to undermine President Donald Trump and harm his chances of winning re-election.

Pence’s speech comes a week after Trump stood in front of world leaders at the UN and accused Beijing of meddling in US politics.