Chinese support crucial to Sri Lankan victory over Tamils

五月 23, 2009 at 07:54 | 張貼於South East Asia | 發表留言

May 16, 2009

Sri Lanka’s imminent victory over the Tamil Tigers owes much to a badly needed injection of arms and aid from China, as well as robust Chinese support at the United Nations, ever since the Government began its new offensive in 2007. That was the same year that China started building a $1 billion (£660 million) port at Hambantota, on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, that many military analysts suspect it plans to use as a refuelling and docking station for its navy. Beijing says that Hambantota is purely commercial, but US and Indian military planners see it as part of a “string of pearls” strategy under which China is also building or upgrading ports at Gwadar in Pakistan, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Sittwe in Burma. The strategy, first highlighted in a report commissioned by the Pentagon in 2004, was outlined in a paper by Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher J. Pehrson, of the Pentagon’s Air Staff, in 2006, and again in a report by the US Joint Forces Command in November. China has no immediate plans to establish a fully fledged naval base at any of these sites but wants a foothold in the Indian Ocean to protect its oil supplies from piracy or blockade by a foreign power, analysts say. The Royal Navy used the eastern Sri Lankan port of Trincomalee in the same way until 1957 and still shares a naval base with the United States on the nearby island of Diego Garcia.


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