Tuesday, July 16, 2024

‘Teardrop Diplomacy’ Book Discussion at the National Press Club

“Chinese strategic trap in Sri Lanka,” warns Senior Research Fellow.

“There is a deliberate Strategic Trap in Sri Lanka by China,” said the author Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, a Senior Research Fellow at the Millennium Project in Washington, DC. The book discussion on ‘Teardrop Diplomacy: China’s Sri Lanka Foray’ was held on May 19th, 2023, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Poonam Sharma, Editor of Global Strat View, moderated the panel, which included Dr. Jeffery S. Payne from the Near East and South Asia(NESA) Center at the National Defense University and Jerome Glenn, CEO of the Millennium Project.

The ‘Strategic Trap’ is beyond the ‘Debt Trap,’ with considerable Political funding by China to capture the country’s elites, human rights, and military/security support. Before the Chinese spy balloons appeared in the US, a Chinese spy ship visited Sri Lanka, which was ignored. The authorities ignored multiple warnings flagged by the author months before the political-economic crisis. The research carried out for the book during the 2019-2022 period captures a significant China tilt in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, where the sibling regime of Rajapaksa’s rule turned the democratic nation towards an autocracy. Sri Lankan president ousted by the people’s uprising in 2022 had previously installed a heavy military control government with centralized power with numerous human rights abuse towards minority communities and rampant corruption. The distinguished panelists explained that US, Indian, and Japanese projects were turned down under the false pretext of national security. There was a comparison with similar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries such as Pakistan and the Solomon Islands going through Sri Lanka’s Chinese experience with large borrowings, non-transparent agreements, and opaque loans developing white elephant projects with no return to pay back the Chinese borrowings were captured in the book. Bloomsbury published the book, which is now available at Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC.


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