Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday declared the Aukus security pact between Australia, Britain and the US “a mistake” while rejecting any concerns over Beijing’s perceived influence on his debt-ridden island nation.
“It is a military alliance moved against one country – China,” he said at an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“I think it’s a strategic misstep. I think they made a mistake,” Wickremesinghe added, describing the alliance as unnecessary. “I don’t think it was needed.”
Created in September 2021, Aukus is described by the governments of its member states as a security partnership involving information and technology sharing on nuclear-powered submarines, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional undersea capabilities.
Wickremesinghe laughed off the term “Indo-Pacific”, calling the recently-coined geostrategic zone an “artificial framework”.
“Nobody knows what’s Indo-Pacific,” he said. “For some people, the Indo-Pacific ends on the western boundary of India, others take it into Africa, and some end up with Western Pacific, others go to South Pacific.”
The Sri Lankan leader said the Sino-US rivalry originated in the Western Pacific but had now spread to both the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific.
“Why we are getting pulled into it? It’s difficult for us to understand,” he said, stressing that he had seen many geopolitical blocs shifting in his decades-long political career.
“The next round of rivalry is going on. And that’s taking place in Asia. It’s the question of China versus the US, on how they are going to divide their region of influence in Asia,” Wickremesinghe said.
On an expected expansion of Nato into Asia, he said “as far as the Indian Ocean is concerned, we don’t want any military activity” and that most countries in the region “will not want Nato anywhere close by”.
Sri Lanka’s Hambatota port has long been cited in discussion around China’s lending practices along with accusations of “debt-trap diplomacy” but in his address on Monday, Wickremesinghe accused the West of having a scant understanding of how the Indian Ocean region operates.
He rejected reports that Colombo was letting Beijing operate a military base in Sri Lanka. He said the Hambantota was a commercial port run by Chinese state-owned China Merchants Group, and that the security of the port lay with the Sri Lanka Navy.
He also countered recent claims made by New Delhi that Beijing was sending ships to Sri Lanka to spy on India.
“There are no spy ships in Sri Lanka. I don’t know if anyone can establish a spy ship,” Wickremesinghe said, describing them as “research vessels” that had been visiting for the past 10 years under an agreement between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Sri Lanka’s national aquatic research agency. (scmp)
Premalal Perera Tuesday, 19 September 2023 09:38 AM
Man who does not represent Sri Lankans have spoken. Now the US UK and Australia must be shivering in their boots.
Enough of the pale skinned people trying to control the world Tuesday, 19 September 2023 08:48 PM
The US , the UK and Australia with majority pale skinned persons are trying to rule the world. They cannot help us if India were to invade. Good Ranil making sure the world understands we will only agree to any other for mutual benefit and not the nonsense of some majority pale skinned nations.
Rip Winkle Tuesday, 19 September 2023 09:42 AM
Whenever you open your gab you not only make a fool of yourself but bring ridicule to our country. You are China's and Rajapaksa's puppet.
Undiplomatic diplomat Tuesday, 19 September 2023 09:46 AM
The flip flop president at work yesterday he was all India today he is all China. Great way to build trust with our partners, then again this is vintage Ranil. Diplomacy is not his strong suit.
Malsiri Tuesday, 19 September 2023 11:10 AM
It is not about taking sides. Sri Lanka is a non-aligned nation. We need to ensure thate we are not unwittingly drawn away from that. The western countries can continue with the power play if they so want to but they should know that Sri Lanka is not ready to be drawn into those power games.
Dinruta Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:57 PM
Do you think you have 10% of his knowledge In diplomatic affairs?
Observer Tuesday, 19 September 2023 10:21 AM
In the first place, an unelected Temporary President , cannot make policy decisions on behalf of Sri Lanka!
Mahila Tuesday, 19 September 2023 06:29 PM
That's BS!!??? If he can't take decisions, why is he there in the first place??? These are the empty vessels, which administer, or influence and the country ended up in a parlous state!!!???
Lumbini Tuesday, 19 September 2023 10:23 AM
As has been in the past, Ranil is again making a fool of himself.
Punchi Tuesday, 19 September 2023 10:39 AM
Is RW an agent of China? I decide what security I need for my home. Similarly the UK, US and Australia which are modern wealthy countries decide what is important to them and not be dictated to by someone from a beggar country
Sam Silva Tuesday, 19 September 2023 05:51 PM
Mage rata mage gama Wednesday, 20 September 2023 08:08 AM
Ranil recently supported for Pakistan to make protest statement at UN HCR regarding a burning of a book in Sweden. Since then naturally Sweden doesn't want Sri Lankans coming there anymore (even on student Visa). He clearly doesn't understand modern democratic mind-set and tit-for-tat for his outrageous support Pakistan in the anti-free expression protest.
Pakistan is also against US, UK and Australia supporting for India.
He is more likely toeing the Pakistan line with China pulling the strings.
Chiceylndia Tuesday, 19 September 2023 10:51 AM
Please don’t try to advise, UK,AUSTRALIA AND USA. Look after yourself.
Nimal Tuesday, 19 September 2023 11:10 AM
Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than display one's lack of intellect.
Piyal Tuesday, 19 September 2023 11:16 AM
Every time he opens his mouth it is an embarrassment on all Sri Lankans. Shikkeya...
Nimal Tuesday, 19 September 2023 11:18 AM
The 'mistake' was someone becoming an Executive President without the people's mandate.
Hamdhan Tuesday, 19 September 2023 11:55 AM
This man living in clouds, singing songs, Nothing usefull will ever happen with this guy on the helm
Volker Metzger Tuesday, 19 September 2023 12:32 PM
However, one must at least question whether Ranil Wickremesigne is the military strategic thinker who thinks in the context of global political analyses!!! Even in his political analyzes and statements about the LTTE terror during Chandrika's time, he was often wrong and his proposed solutions to end the war (thank God!) never became reality!!! NATO expansion into the Asian region has never been the subject of serious Western policy! However, as President, he should give more than serious thought to Sri Lanka's extreme dependence on China!!!
Don Juan Tuesday, 19 September 2023 12:35 PM
SL President has clearly explained that they are not spy ships but research vessels that had been visiting for the past 10 years under an agreement between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Sri Lanka’s national aquatic research agency. So, what is the problem?
India and it's supporter don't want to let our science research happen Tuesday, 19 September 2023 08:50 PM
The Indians are jealous so his statement is rebuff to the AUKUS supporting India as well as the US, UK, and Australia. They are all wanting to be top boss of science, and hate that our ally China has closer scientific ties with us than any of them. India if they come here by ocean is to take our fish, so ruining the lives of poor fisherman here.
Uncle Sam Tuesday, 19 September 2023 12:40 PM
He is amply demonstrating his ignorance. Not withstanding this, he has become a strategic geopolitical advisor for the developed countries while holding a "Begging Bowl" in one hand. He has only to look at the recently published map released map from China where she claims sovereignty to Northern India, parts of Malaysia and other SE Asian neighbours not withstanding the entire South China Sea.
shelliah Tuesday, 19 September 2023 12:54 PM
great president speech no need NATO in Indo Pacific
get out west from Asia.
you can see now Canada Khalistan movement what is going on including UK
past they support LTTE give all
we learn all already, our president is knowledge is great in international politic but inland rubbish.
S. Samarakoon Tuesday, 19 September 2023 12:56 PM
Back door President who did not even win his Seat !!
One Family still rules !!
Gee Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:17 PM
Im sure Aus/USA/UK care very much about what Sri Lanka think
Kathir Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:25 PM
Even after two world wars the western countries specially United States are flagrantly making unnecessary military alliances to creat another world war just for selling weapons
This military alliance United States and Great Britain and Australia is well aimed against China
India should not fall into this military net against china The sriLankan President has told the truth
Jal Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:27 PM
Fearless statement. Entire world should stand against western neocolonialism.
Ram Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:37 PM
AUKUS will not care too hoots for President RW as they know that RW is singing Hosanas for China to get over Rajapaksa created debts.
Ram Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:43 PM
RW, India expelled a Canadian Diplomat. If you do the same to n3 diplomats from AUKUS Chine is likely to wipe off the debts. Give it a try
Saman Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:54 PM
First, try to pay off your debt!
Weirdo Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:56 PM
What an incredible weirdo this is. Of course he started begging from those Chinese again, and they said we have a dollar for you if you just throw this out into the world. Not knowing that no one takes Sri Lanka seriously. But he is making a fool of himself and the whole country. I wouldn't be surprised if this story was presented by the most retarded Rajapaksa family.
Anton Tuesday, 19 September 2023 01:57 PM
NATO should not be anywhere around the Indian ocean. Don't let those US thugs come anywhere near the Indian ocean. Asians with colonial mindsets will always worship the west.
N V Jen Tuesday, 19 September 2023 02:04 PM
First you talk about the mistakes all you political clan made since independence presenting the notorious tag as the first bankrupt country in Asia. Then you can utter about global politics.
Goonbag Tuesday, 19 September 2023 02:13 PM
Volker Metzger Tuesday, 19 September 2023 02:19 PM
However, it is highly doubtful whether Ranil Wickremesigne is a politician who thinks in the context of global political analysis and has sound military-strategic knowledge!!! Even in his political analyzes and statements about the LTTE terror during Chandrika's time, his assessments were often wrong and his proposed solutions to end the war (thank God!) never became reality!!! NATO expansion into the Asian region has never been the subject of serious Western policy! However, as President, he should give more than serious thought to Sri Lanka's extreme dependence on China!!!
wsw Tuesday, 19 September 2023 02:37 PM
@Premalal Perera - why should those Aukus block countries fear when someone just expresses their opinion? Most strategists know that the US is using Australia to "bell the cat" at the expense of Australian tax payers. China is Australia's largest trading partner and the Americans will do anything to drive a wedge between these two countries.
wsw Tuesday, 19 September 2023 02:41 PM
@Punchi- RW was only expressing his view not dictating, understand the difference ?
bande Tuesday, 19 September 2023 02:59 PM
Asking for trouble when the time is not right to make such a statement .......first feed the hungry countrymen ..
Citizen Tuesday, 19 September 2023 03:07 PM
He is right in his statement, USA can not control the world anymore and let them look after their backyard. Let the rest live in peace. God said don't do mischief in the world, they said only we are making peace. What they have done is all destruction in the name of peace.
KAN Tuesday, 19 September 2023 03:10 PM
DONT FOOL YOUR SALFF
Charles Jansz Tuesday, 19 September 2023 04:10 PM
Anyway, most of the time it is hocus pocus...now it is Aukus !!
A nizam Tuesday, 19 September 2023 04:29 PM
No problem he gives a rats a$$ what he thinks. Now all of a sudden this joker trying to tell world powers how protect their interests. Everytime he opens his mouth he shows the world what a joke he is.
Nut Tuesday, 19 September 2023 06:15 PM
Wow. A man, who couldn't win his own seat and installed as the president by the corrupt to protect themselves, is now advising three of the world's biggest powers on how to run their defence policy.
Punchi Wednesday, 20 September 2023 06:57 AM
This guy is insanely cuckoo. Similar to our monks who tell fairy tales on our supposed great civilisation. Maybe a product of a rote learning system. Please ask him to tell the Philippinos that china is no danger. China is claiming the Thomas Shoal which is 100 nautical miles from Philippines and 800 nautical miles from China as its possession.The Philippines is now aligned wit AUKUS to protect its territory.
Nadasena Hora Wednesday, 20 September 2023 09:04 AM
Ranil is Xi Jing Ping's (aka Winnie the Poon) Gal Kolla.
Amaradasa Thanthirige Wednesday, 20 September 2023 10:01 AM
Doors are opened at A Big Mental Hospital in Clombo 7 for this man! Please go as soon as possible without destroying this country any further!
Roger Halliday Wednesday, 20 September 2023 04:35 PM
China is the big donor lone giver, so RW will defend the Chinese. They are more trustworthy than the Indians. Not that he trust them but he has todance to the chinese music.
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