Shortly after the high-level Chinese delegation's visit to Sri Lanka, the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due in the country this month.
At present, every possible effort is being made by the US and China to extend its influence over the island nation.
This is the reality that is being experienced by Sri Lankans as the port city is being built on reclaimed land at the periphery of old Colombo city while a mammoth embassy building is being constructed on the US property in Colombo.
If Sri Lanka is more efficient and strategic, it is possible to seize the most out of this opportunity. But if this opportunity is spoiled by short-sighted extremists, Sri Lanka will inevitably fall prey to the powers that be.
The bitter truth is that Sri Lanka has suffered for decades as a victim of Indian politics. Unfortunately, regarding the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka, India has changed its bottle but never thought of changing the old rotten wine.
If Sri Lanka becomes a gambling den of several other powerful states within a short period, this country will be even more helpless, foreign policy analysts said.
Pompeo due in late October
“United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to come,” Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage said.
Other sources say he is due in two weeks, breaking away from an official visit to New Delhi where he is to accompany his colleague, the US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, for a major military cooperation agreement expected to be signed between the US and India as part of an anti-China Alliance with Japan and Australia.
Secretary Pompeo, who postponed a previous scheduled visit last year to Sri Lanka, is expected to arrive on October 27. It will be the highest-level US government official of cabinet rank to visit the country since one of his predecessors, John Kerry, visited Sri Lanka in 2015.
The stalled negotiations on the USD 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant to Sri Lanka are likely to be on the agenda for discussions with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during the visit.
It was not yet clear if the proposed SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) and the existing ACSA (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement) would also be on the agenda.
Meanwhile, following the visit this week to Colombo by Yang Jiechi, a former Foreign Minister of China and currently a senior member of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is likely to visit China in early December.
During the trip, the two countries are expected to sign several agreements, the content of which was discussed in principle this week.