US envoy and Defense Attaché visit China funded Hambantota port

A delegation headed by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka & Maldives, Alaina B. Teplitz, visited the Hambantota International Port, the port said in a statement today.The US and India have raised concerns over the port alleging it will be used for military purposes, an allegation China has consistently denied. The Ambassador was accompanied by U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer, David McGuire and Senior Defense Officer/Defense Attaché, Lt. Colonel Douglas Hess. The visit was a part of the US Government’s mission to meet senior Government and private sector officials, to discuss investment opportunities in Sri Lanka as well as to tour key economic development projects. COO of Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG), Tissa Wickremasinghe, met with the three member delegation, along with Rear Admiral (Retd) Jayantha de Silva, Head of Security, Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS).The US delegation was briefed on the port’s facilities, while the COO explained the development status and future planning of the Port to Ambassador Teplitz. The port, situated along key shipping routes, is one of a string of infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa and Europe being funded under China’s Belt and Road Initiative that has rattled the US and its allies, including neighbouring India.Last year US Vice-President Mike Pence said Hambantota “may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy.”(Colombo Gazette)

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