Sri Lanka made 'dumb bets' on China: CIA chief
| Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 13:04 [IST]
Washington, July: 21: Bill Burns, the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has blamed the "dumb bets" made by Sri Lanka on China for its economic collapse.
"The Chinese have a lot of weight to throw around and they can make a very appealing case for their investments," AFP quoted Burns as saying at the Aspen Security Forum.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.
"Nations should look at "a place like Sri Lanka today -- heavily indebted to China -- which has made some really dumb bets about their economic future and are suffering pretty catastrophic, both economic and political, consequences as a result. That, I think, ought to be an object lesson to a lot of other players -- not just in the Middle East or South Asia, but around the world -- about having your eyes wide open about those kinds of dealings," he said at the event.
Ranil Wickremesinghe is Sri Lanka's new President
China has invested heavily in Sri Lanka and worked closely with former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the island nation following a massive public protest demanding his resignation.
In the recent past, many experts have blamed China's debt trap diplomacy was one of the reason for the collapse of Sri Lanka's economic crisis.
The trouble-hit nation borrowed heavily from China for infrastructure projects, some of which ended up as white elephants.
Not the just chief of the US intelligence agency, many experts have said that China's debt trap diplomacy has become a major cause of Sri Lanka's unprecedented economic crisis.
As per the reports, in 2017, Sri Lanka was unable to repay a $1.4 billion loan for a port construction in the south of the country and was forced to lease out the facility to a Chinese company for 99 years.
Meanwhile, Ranil Wickremesinghe will take oath as the President of Sri Lanka at the parliament complex on Thursday after his victory in a parliament vote to choose a new president for the South Asian country.