3 August, 2021

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U.S. To Encounter China’s ‘Malign Activities’ In Sri Lanka: Anti-China Hardliner As Next Envoy To Colombo

By Daya Gamage

Daya Gamage

Having watched developments in South Asia in which the Peoples Republic of China is using its economic and military hegemony to sway literal nations such as Sri Lanka in the region toward it, the Biden administration is taking a stronger approach to combat the ‘Chinese Expansion’ – most recently seen in Sri Lanka – in nominating a state department career diplomat to head its diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka who has a profile of being a hardliner to combat Chinese economic-military motives in the Indo-Pacific.

The U.S. Foreign Service official who was born in South Korea, one of the Squad nations along with India, U.S. and Australia grouped together to maneuver against China, and most recently in a strong testimony to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee outlining the maneuvers to check China, will now be stationed in Colombo.

The Biden White House nominated Julie Chung to be the next ambassador to Sri Lanka. A relatively young (49) but vast experience behind her, Ms. Chung will be entrusted to work within the confines of a soon-to-be-law “Ensuring American Global Leadership Engagement’ or EAGLE Act,  a legislation calling for the revitalization of American diplomacy, leadership, and investments globally in response to the policy challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China. The bill presented to the US Congress on May 25 authorizes an increase in US Department of State resources devoted to the Indo-Pacific, and presents a blueprint to enhance American engagement. This was intended to expand American diplomatic efforts abroad in an effort to boost the United States’ ability to compete with China.

The Secretary of State, the Administrator of the  United States Agency for International Development and other relevant agency heads – under this EAGLE Act – are authorized to  co-finance infrastructure, resilience, and environmental adaptation projects that advance the development objectives of the United States overseas and  provide viable alternatives to projects that would  otherwise be included within China’s Belt and Road  Initiative.

The new American Ambassador Julie Chung will now be entrusted to work to fulfill the tasks of the EAGLE Act in relation to Sri Lanka.

Undoubtedly Washington was displeased with the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration’s skepticism of the Millennial Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC) – a Western -Eastern Province targeted land-based economic package that skeptics viewed it as a covert military maneuver – and putting the strategic SOFA proposal that could have activated the 83-page ACSA agreement signed by the previous Sirisena regime in 2017 on hold – simultaneously awarding concessions to China on Colombo Port City and other infrastructure projects, Washington views, as a military foothold for the PRC.

Washington in fact paved a safe passage to U.S. citizen Gotabaya Rajapaksa placing no obstacles whatsoever when he applied for the renunciation of the citizenship. Whether the renunciation was granted before he submitted his nomination papers to contest Sri Lanka’s presidency or the renunciation of the U.S. citizenship was never raised as an issue when nomination papers were presented before the Chairman of the Election Commission is secondary to what Washington’s motives were: the applicant was Sri Lanka’s defense secretary during the brutal war (2006-2009) against separatist-terrorist Tamil Tigers that Washington viewed with mixed feelings – part of an attempt to suppress Tamil grievances; in a classified diplomatic cable (later revealed by WikiLeaks) sent under the signature of American Ambassador Patricia Butenis in December 2009 declaring him, his brothers and army commander Fonseka as persons who committed war crimes; by the time he applied for the renunciation there were many other military commanders, including the current army commander Shavendra Silva – were debarred from entering the American soil as  the USG declared them as persons who committed war crimes and violated international humanitarian law; the role played by Gotabaya Rajapaksa was never investigated by the War Crimes and Human Rights Division of the US Department of Homeland Security – as the normal procedure under US federal laws when renunciations are before the USG – to award him easy passage to be nominated and win the presidency of Sri Lanka.

The quid pro quo was the MCC and the SOFA. Sri Lankan administration disappointed Washington in not fulfilling both that were vital policy projects of Washington at a time it was expanding it’s military might in Indo-Pacific, a region in which Sri Lanka is located in a strategic place.

With the EAGLE Act before the U.S. Congress, and Washington’s displeasure toward Sri Lanka, the Biden White House, on the recommendation of Secretary of State Tony Blinken, nominated a career diplomat who has links to South Korea – a QUOD member – and vociferous opponent of the Chinese maneuvers in Indo-Pacific to be the next ambassador to Sri Lanka.

“China had been viewed for years as a regional issue for Asia, but we are acutely aware that its actions have global implications that require global coordination and action. There are extensive linkages between the Indo-Pacific and the Western Hemisphere, through trade, diaspora communities, and multilateral groupings like the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). We have been leading an interagency effort to implement National Security Strategy and Vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. At the highest level, we have two strategic objectives: reinforce the position of the United States as the region’s partner of choice and counter China’s malign activities because they threaten hemispheric prosperity, security, and democracy”, said Julie Chung, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 17, 2020 in a testimony “Advancing U.S. Engagement and Countering China in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond”.   

She further noted before Senate “Their investments in the region frequently come with excessive debt and opaque terms, low-quality infrastructure, and environmental damage, and they crowd out local development with an influx of Chinese materials, equipment, and workers”.

This is a clear signal to the Sri Lankan administration of Washington’s seriousness in the Indo-Pacific region; Sri Lanka’s strategic location in it; PRC’s encroachment in the Indo-Pacific encircling literal states such as Sri Lanka; and its combative attitude in sending a diplomat who has ties to the QUOD and rhetorical attitude toward China gaining a foothold.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    0

    Daya Gamage,

    You use “literal states such as Sri Lanka” in your article above.

    I think it ought to be … littoral …

    • 11
      0

      Thiru,
      You can clearly see the difference between diasporas……..
      Still, we shouldn’t blame poor Daya. He is only a symptom, not the disease.

    • 10
      0

      Right. And there is no ‘QUOD.’ It is the QUAD: US, Japan, India, Australia.

      Though Julie Chung may have Korean ancestry, she is a career diplomat, and will simply follow the policy directives from her chain of command at the Dept. of State, headed by Tony Blinken, who reports to Joe Biden.

      • 2
        1

        There is a rumour that Julie Chung’s appointment was aimed at regime change.

        • 1
          2

          Is she experienced?

      • 7
        0

        Yes Agnos, You are correct.

        It is QUAD and not QUOD.

        QUAD is an abridged form of “Quadrilateral”-a polygon with four unequal sides and four vertices. At the vertices are the four countries – USA, Australia, Japan and India.

        After all Daya Gamage is not well versed about USA

        • 1
          0

          srikrish,
          .
          Daya Gamage so ill-versed
          about USA that GambadaIngirisiIskoleMahaththaya was wondering whether he could take over Daya’s job in the USA.
          .
          From your comments, I had worked out that there are these Quad Countries:
          .
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrilateral_Security_Dialogue
          .
          So, I thought I’d better imbibe more wisdom from this savant and actually read his article. In the second paragraph, we are told that Julie Chung is from South Korea, one of the Squad nations along with India, U.S. and Australia.
          .
          I’m going to tell young Julie (well, she’s twenty-three years younger than me) how much she’s already being discussed here and offering my services at the nominal fee calculated as only the minimum hourly wage in the USA, X 40 hours per month.
          .
          There’s an email address supplied here. I’m giving only the link since giving the emails of other persons is against CT Comments Policy.
          .

          https://lk.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/
          .
          Why am I providing all this information, srikrish? Human Rights! All Lankan citizens are hereby notified; let there be fair competition for this position.

      • 3
        2

        Agnos
        Agree.
        At times appointments are strong signals.
        But people tend to attach undue significance to personalities.
        Personalities could matter in specific contexts and in sensitive situations.
        But a signal to China in Sri Lanka?
        We are flattering ourselves a little too much I suspect..

    • 1
      1

      Thiru,
      Why you guys are opposing everything Daya Gamage is writing. I beg yourself to read it again, not thinking that he is a pro Royal propagandist. He does not sound like one in this anyway. He sounds like stretching his both hands and receiving Ambassador Nominee Julie Chung. He, without any hesitancy, is looking forward Western – Eastern bloc countries to curb China’s tyranny. Watch and see, sooner or later this type of Patriotic Thilagams will start to beg India to invade Lankawe to counter China. Lemon puff, Champawati, Sinhala Racist Man et al will soon align with Ranil. Ranil is about to form the United National China Communist Party UNCCP) of Sinhala Lankawe because if he stand on UNP he never can become the dream job of president. Ranil saying Don Stephen followed the Mao’s path to liberate Lankawe, so he is following Mao’s path too. You know that it is Australia created Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Same way it was Australia and America created the QUAD. Apparently, probably because of his age, he sounds like confusing massive Japan to puny Korea. Next to Middle East, Korea and Japan are countries putting for-exch alms in the name of “Hiring Coolies. If they too are also gone, Panankaddu Nari Ranil’s Mukkaalum Poyundee!

  • 3
    3

    An excellent analysis.
    Gotabhaya was an American citizen at the time he handed over nominations. When people started questioning his suitability, his crooked lawyer Ali Sabry showed a forged passport with a cancel (not cancelled) sticker to mislead people. The then Chairman of the Elections Commission later admitted that he did not verify the documents submitted to him with regard to renunciation of Gotabhaya’s citizenship. One day the court should investigate this matter and if Gotabhaya was found guilty of submitting forged documents, his Presidency should be annulled. Will that happen? I don’t know. However, if that happens, all national, international agreements signed in his time will be invalid.
    The American agenda on Sri Lanka never changes. What is changing is the Sri Lankan agents they choose to implement their agenda. Their current agent is Ali Sabry, the crooked lawyer.
    I strongly believe that the U.S. and India are behind the proposed “Tripitaka Conservation Bill”, which is supported by a group of Maha Sangha. I don’t know how to differentiate this group from the rest of the Buddhist monks. I think I can call them ‘the Anubudu Mihindu cult’.

    • 5
      2

      Sounded like more Hundescheiße from Daya Gamage:

      1. Gota was in the U.S. for numerous years after the war, before renouncing his U.S. citizenship;
      —>Why would the U.S. initiate an investigation on Gotabaya for War crimes just when he/she applies to renounce U.S. citizenship?
      —>Even the U.N. resolutions weren’t able to get the madman investigated while he was residing in the U.S.!
      —>Would the U.S. government take action merely based on a U.S. Ambassador’s classified diplomatic cable (and which was sent in Dec. 2009)?
      —>Where’s the reference to the specific law that requires the U.S. citizenship department to investigate or any precedence of this requirement?

      2. If U.S.A. deliberately and self-servingly (vis-à-vis MCC & SOFA) hid the actual date Gotabaya’s citizenship was renounced as well as provided easy passage for him to be nominated and win the presidency of SriLanka, then when those important goals didn’t materialise, why couldn’t the U.S. strategically leak the actual date of the renunciation and screw the madman?
      —>Is D.Gamage suggesting that the U.S. negotiated with Gotabaya, and he made promises, and later stabbed the U.S. in the back?

      Is this a deceptive narrative or a product of short circuited synapses!?

  • 2
    1

    The fact is that Rajapaksa regime brought Sri Lanka as a country to suffer in the war between USA lead group and China lead group internationally, regionally and internally in addition to economic disaster, community rivalry, religious hatred, corona infections and death. Only beneficiaries are Rajapaksa family and military leaders and their supporters (bribery). Is it what the people of this nation wanted? People never learns from the past!

  • 2
    3

    The EAGLE act introduced to enhance American engagement in the Indo-Pacific region is too late and too little to win back the confidence of Sri Lanka.

    America had a significant impact on SL during the days of President Ronald Regan and ever since the thuggery diplomacy of halloween figurine called Madeleine Albright it has been totally downhill.

    For SL, it’s an easy choice. A country that helps it’s development unconditionally and without interference vis a vis a country that provides a pittance of financial assistance but comes with tonnes of conditions, interference and preaching of democracy and human rights like the Bana that comes out of a veddha’s mouth.

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