Colombo, August 27: Responding to a newspaper article written by the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong, the Indian High Commission on Saturday accused the Chinese envoy of violating “basic diplomatic etiquette.” In a series of tweets, the mission pointed out that what Sri Lanka needs now is not a controversy thrust on it to serve another country’s agenda, but support.
Sri Lanka is now undergoing a severe economic crisis and is seeking international support.
“We have noted the remarks of the Chinese Ambassador. His violation of basic diplomatic etiquette may be a personal trait or reflecting a larger national attitude. His view of Sri Lanka’s northern neighbor may be colored by how his own country behaves. India, we assure him, is very different,” a tweet said.
Further: “His imputing a geopolitical context to the visit of a purported scientific research vessel is a giveaway. Opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caution. Sri Lanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country’s agenda.”
In the article published in the Sri Lankan media, the Chinese envoy accused India of trying to dominate Sri Lanka as it allegedly did in the past, and said that Sri Lanka should join China to fight against forces which pose such threats.
Here are portions of the article referring to India and Sri Lanka:
“Looking back at the great history of the island of Sri Lanka, which overcame aggression from its northern neighbor 17 times, colonization by the West for 450 years, and an anti-terrorism war for nearly 3 decades, is now still standing in the world bravely and proudly.”
“Any infringement of national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka shall not be tolerated. Approving a foreign vessel’s port call at Hambantota or any other port for replenishment is a decision made by the Sri Lankan government completely within its sovereignty, not to mention all the scientific research activities of Yuan Wang 5 that comply with the international law and common international practice.”
“External obstruction based on so-called security concerns but without any evidence from certain forces is de facto a thorough interference in Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence. Fortunately, with China and Sri Lanka’s joint efforts, the incident was resolved properly, which not only safeguarded Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence, but also defended international fairness and justice once again.”
“Just like Sri Lanka, China had suffered a hundred years of humiliation from 1840 till 1949. Because of a similar dark experience, China has always been supporting Sri Lanka in international fora for protecting its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. We will continue to do that. In contrast, some countries, far or near, always make various groundless excuses to bully Sri Lanka and trample on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence repeatedly. “
“Next month, the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council will be held in Geneva where human rights issues in Sri Lanka might probably be stirred up again. As the Sri Lankan people are still grappling with severe economic and humanitarian difficulties, many might wonder what those countries, who have been always been preaching about human rights, will actually do. Will they help Sri Lanka to ease its human rights crisis by providing concrete support? Or will they again use human rights as a cover-up tool to interfere in the island nation’s internal affairs and continue to rub salt into the wound of Sri Lankan people? Just let’s wait and see,” Qi Zhenhong said.