Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has criticized the AUKUS pact, describing it as an alliance designed to target China and labeling it a “strategic misstep.” He believes that this military bloc will only serve to divide Asia into rival camps and destabilize the region. Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Monday, Wickremesinghe expressed his disagreement with the formation of the AUKUS alliance by the US, UK, and Australia in 2021, stating that he did not think it was necessary.
According to the Sri Lankan president, the AUKUS alliance is specifically aimed at countering China’s influence. He emphasized his country’s desire to maintain good relations with both the US and China, without getting involved in their growing tensions. Wickremesinghe expressed concerns about the increasing US military presence in the region, particularly the “freedom of navigation” missions, and stated that most neighboring countries do not want NATO in close proximity to the Indian Ocean.
Established as a means to facilitate the transfer of military technology among the three allies, AUKUS is not officially considered a military alliance. However, Beijing has condemned the pact, arguing that it will contribute to the spread of nuclear weapons and trigger an arms race in Asia. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin criticized the project earlier this year, accusing the three countries of pursuing their own geopolitical self-interests while ignoring international concerns. He also claimed that the AUKUS pact is based on a “Cold War mentality,” which will harm regional stability and peace.
Tensions between the US and China have been escalating steadily in recent years. The trade war initiated by former US President Donald Trump is ongoing under his successor, Joe Biden. The Biden administration also frequently deploys navy warships near China, including the disputed Taiwan Strait, which has drawn condemnation from Chinese officials.
In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka believes that the AUKUS pact is a strategic mistake that will only further exacerbate the division in Asia and disrupt regional stability. He emphasizes his country’s desire to remain neutral and maintain good relations with both the US and China.