Sri Lanka refutes US claims of Chinese military base

Sri Lanka has refuted recent claims from US intelligence that there are potential plans for a Chinese military base to be established on its soil.

State Defence Minister Premitha Bandara Tennakoon told Daily Mirror that Sri Lanka has not engaged in any discussions with foreign governments, including China, regarding the establishment of a military base within its borders.

“Sri Lanka has not held discussions with any foreign government including China for a possible establishment of a military base here in Sri Lanka,” the State Minister said in response to a question on the US claims.

In its annual threat assessment 2024 report this week, the US Intelligence Community said that China is exploring the possibility of establishing military facilities in various countries including Sri Lanka, in a bid to bolster their power projection capabilities and safeguard national interests.

"The US intelligence report on the possible establishment of a Chinese military base in Sri Lanka is inaccurate; we vehemently deny these claims," the minister said.

The State Minister has affirmed that Sri Lanka will not permit any foreign country to establish military bases within its borders under any circumstances.

The US report also stated, “Beyond developing its military base in Djibouti and its military facility at Ream Naval Base in Cambodia, Beijing reportedly is considering pursuing military facilities in multiple locations, including—but not limited to—Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and the UAE”.

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