Secretary of State of the United States of America Michael R. Pompeo just left the island following an official visit to Sri Lanka these past two days (October 27-28). The visit was part of a larger tour of the IndoPacific region (in particular South Asia) which experts believe to have been made due to the heavy involvement of China in the region. President Rajapaksa stated on Twitter that Sri Lanka will always maintain a neutral stand in foreign policy and will not get entangled in struggles between power blocs.
During his short visit, the Secretary of State met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and held a joint press conference with the latter before paying his respects to the victims of the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka.
On his official Twitter account, Secretary Pompeo offered details of his visit to Sri Lanka. He stated that he had a productive talk with President Rajapaksa. The discussion had been regarding post-pandemic economic recovery and development and the importance of a US-Sri Lanka partnership to bolster sustainable and transparent trade and investment which benefits the Sri Lankan people.He also stated that his meeting with Minister Gunawardena reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Sri Lanka partnership. “Our cooperation on health and humanitarian issues is strong and the approaches we discussed to post-pandemic recovery will ensure sustainable and inclusive long-term development,” he added. Regarding the Easter bombings, he stated that America stands with the Sri Lankan people and the world to defeat violent extremism and bring perpetrators to justice.
In a media statement before the meeting, the Chinese embassy stated that Sri Lanka and China have had a history of friendly exchanges for thousands of years and therefore have enough wisdom to handle relations with each other without a third party dictating the relationship. The statement added that as a sincere friend of Sri Lanka, while China is happy to see Sri Lanka develop healthy relations with other countries, they are firmly opposed to the United States using the visit as an opportunity to bully and coerce Sri Lanka and disrupt China- Sri Lanka relations.