søndag 22. mai 2022

Sri Lanka’s Meltdown Puts China’s Strategic Influence in Jeopardy

When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family stormed to power in Colombo in 2019, Beijing had much cause to celebrate. Only years earlier, the new president’s elder brother, Mahinda, had been instrumental in heralding a new era of Chinese influence in his country — hosting an array of dazzling infrastructure projects under Beijing’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The projects had turned Sri Lanka into a strategic outpost in the Indian Ocean for Beijing. Geography had been especially significant: Sri Lanka gave China access to the waters beyond the Malacca Strait chokepoint between Malaysia and Singapore, through which much of China’s trade heading to Africa and West Asia passes.