23 Reports

Mike Pompeo: Chinese Communist Party ‘Central threat of our times’

[TamilNet, Friday, 31 January 2020, 20:27 GMT]
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting London this week to discuss US-UK bilateral ties at the height of Brexit and the British decision on involving the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei in the deployment of UK's 5G mobile network amidst repeated US warnings. The former CIA director said the Chinese Communist Party was the “central threat of our times” after 20 years of post 9/11 counterterrorism problem. On the British decision on Huawei, Mr Pompeo said: “This isn’t about any one company. This is about a model that the Chinese Communist Party has where they place requirements on these businesses that say thou shalt do, and there’s not only a legal requirement but there’s deep financial investment. You have senior leaders in these companies that are tied to the Chinese Communist Party. We think that – it’s not about a technical back door. They have the front door.”
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Palestine rejects Trump’s plan: Jerusalem and rights of Palestinians not for sale

[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 January 2020, 23:26 GMT]
US President Donald Trump proposed a plan to resolve the Israel-Palestine dispute, claiming his project as the “Deal of the Century,” while announcing it at the White House with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his side on Tuesday. Mr Netanyahu hailed Mr Trump’s plan as a “great plan for Israel” and as “a great plan for peace.” For Palestinians, who were not involved in the negotiations at all, the proposed plan was nothing else than a major land-grabbing scheme as it allowed Israel to annex the territories under its control and to subject their statehood to conditions. Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Palestine, called the plan the “Slap of the Century.”
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New Delhi mulls upgrading Malabar naval drills into Quad war games

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 January 2020, 22:34 GMT]
New Delhi is considering to upgrade the trilateral naval exercise it annually conducts with the navies of the US and Japan to also include Australia this year, Times of India reported citing undisclosed sources on Wednesday. If Australia is involved, Malabar Exercise will mark the first time the “Quad” will come together for the “high-voltage combat manoeuvers on the high seas after a gap of 13 years,” Rajat Pandit of the TOI reported. China has been highly critical of Australia and India staging naval war games in the Indo-Pacific.
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US Report: Washington needs New Delhi to pose military dilemmas for China

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 January 2020, 22:25 GMT]
Washington, D.C.-based national security think-tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS) that carried out a Congressionally mandated study on US strategy in the Indo-Pacific to the Pentagon has recommended the US to pay particular attention to supporting India’s efforts to pose military dilemmas for China, thereby providing relatively low-cost means to complicate the ability of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to concentrate attention and resources on U.S. strongholds in East Asia and the Western Pacific. The study, titled “Rising to the China Challenge: Renewing American Competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific—to the Department of Defense,” which was handed over to the US Department of Defence in December 2019, has been released on the Internet on Tuesday. Interestingly, there was no reference to “Sri Lanka” in the 64-page long report.
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Colombo to increase trade ties with Iran

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 January 2020, 22:25 GMT]
Iran's Ambassador to Colombo, Hashem Ashjazadeh, has told the Governor-General of Iran’s East Azarbaijan Province that the present government in the island is being run by “popular government,” which was seeking “more interaction with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to a report by IRNA, the official news agency of Iran on Wednesday.
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Washington synchronises geographic conception of “Indo-Pacific” with New Delhi

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 January 2020, 20:53 GMT]
Two high-ranking US national-security and State Department diplomats who attended the Raisina Dialogue conference held in New Delhi 14-16 January 2020 have gone on record stating that the US had expanded the territorial scope of the geopolitical notion “Indo-Pacific” to be more or less the same as what was being defined by the New Delhi Establishment. US Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger said the American conception of “Indo-Pacific” was now “roughly aligned with the Indian conception” and that it included East Africa and the Gulf. “More than Hollywood to Bollywood, it is really now California to Kilimanjaro,” he said at the session titled “Coalitions and Consensus: In Defense of Values that Matter” on 19 January.
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Pentagon strengthened military ties with Colombo after Modi-Trump meet in 2017

[TamilNet, Friday, 24 January 2020, 22:18 GMT]
The US President Donald Trump was determined to strengthen military alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand before his November 2017 trip to Asia. However, after meeting India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the US President decided to operationalize “Major Defense Partnership” with India while pursuing “emerging partnerships” with Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and Nepal, according to Michael Pillsbury, the Trump administration’s “favourite outside China expert”. Michael Pillsbury has authored an article on the topic of Trump Administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy in the policy book titled “The Struggle for Power: U.S.-China Relations in the 21st Century,” which was published by the Aspen Strategy Group on Friday.
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ICJ imposes preliminary measures to prevent Rohingya genocide

[TamilNet, Thursday, 23 January 2020, 23:33 GMT]
In a historic preliminary ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday found it had prima facie jurisdiction over the Rohingya genocide case filed by the Gambia. The ICJ, also known as the World Court, instructed Myanmar to take a series of provisional measures to prevent the crimes within the scope of the definition set out in the Genocide Convention and to take effective measures to prevent the destruction of any evidence while the case is pending the final decision. The Theravada-Buddhist Establishments in Myanmar and elsewhere, complicit a prolonged genocide, have to now contend that the genocidal intent of the ideology is going to be scrutinised at the World Court. This is welcome news for Eezham Tamils.
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US President seeks friendship with Pakistan PM at Davos

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 22 January 2020, 22:31 GMT]
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan met US President Donald Trump at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual conference at Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday. Mr Khan was renewing his country’s friendship with the US and assuring Islamabad’s assistance to the US on peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan and was seeking US support to resolve the Kashmir crisis with India. Mr Trump said they were “working together on some borders,” including the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. “[I]f we can help, we certainly will be helping. And we’ve been watching that and following it very, very closely,” Trump said. India has earlier turned down the US offer to negotiate between Pakistan and India on the crisis in Kashmir.
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Gotabaya finds himself at centre of bipolar geopolitics

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 January 2020, 23:16 GMT]
"Being geographically super positioned in a strategic location, #LKA will always face many political challenges. However, I strongly believe that we need to be economically strong, in order to gain the political independence needed," SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa tweeted a day after his meeting with India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The Indian NSA called on him on Saturday after the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister earlier this week.
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Gotabaya commits to maritime military cooperation with India

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 January 2020, 23:06 GMT]
“India and Sri Lanka have agreed to further strengthen cooperation to ensure maritime security in Indian Ocean region and sharing of intelligence inputs,” reported India’s state-run Doordarshan News (DD News) on Saturday. The move was carried out by India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, who is described as the most influential person in India, next to Indian PM Narendra Modi. It also comes a day after the neighbouring Maldives was made to openly acknowledge compliance with US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy of the Quad formation. The one-day visit seems to have happened without prior announcement.
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US-India ‘think-tankers’ advise New Delhi to put Tamil concerns on the backburner

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 January 2020, 21:34 GMT]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra has been successful in culminating a two-year-long “silent background work” to rebuild relations with Rajapaksa siblings, observes Constantino Xavier, a research fellow at Brookings India in New Delhi. In an interview to Rediff, the Portuguese academic, who specialises foreign policy and defence in South Asia says, however, India was risking that Mr Gotabaya could repeat the game Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Olie played with India during the last three years. Mr Oli “gave in to all of Indian protocol demands and political optics, visited Delhi first, proclaimed India first, then waited for India to forget about him, and went on to do more business with China,” the US-India think-tanker told Rediff.com on Thursday.
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Gotabaya seeks US investment in big development of IT, high-tech

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 January 2020, 22:51 GMT]
Alice G Wells, the US principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, who met SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday delivered a letter from US President Donald Trump to Mr Rajapaksa. At the meeting, Mr Rajapaksa was hinting on a possible renegotiation of the terms of the proposed Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact. He told the visiting diplomat that the MCC agreement would be evaluated considering the views of the public. The Daily Mirror reported that Gotabaya “invited the US to invest in technology-based industries since Sri Lanka is also ready to develop its IT-based sectors.” The Daily News in its report said that Sri Lanka was planning to develop the “IT and other technology-related industries in a big way” with US support.
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Geopolitical visits foreshadowed Nepal’s difficult balancing act between US-MCC and China-BRI

[TamilNet, Sunday, 12 January 2020, 23:29 GMT]
There were many visits to and from Nepal in the beginning of 2019 such as the visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano and Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali's visit to India, Japan, US and many other countries. Head of US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter have visited Kathmandu in 2019 seeking military cooperation. Now, the debate whether the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is part of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) has heavily divided the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) as the country is set to decide whether to ratify or not the bilateral agreement. The MCC was established in 2002, eleven years ahead of China announcing its massive Road And Belt Initiative in 2013. The MCC signed a USD 500 million Compact with Nepal in September 2017.
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Visits by Chinese, Russian foreign ministers to coincide with the stopover of US top diplomat

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 January 2020, 23:04 GMT]
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to arrive in Colombo on Monday, one day ahead of the already-announced visit by Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Russian FM is scheduled to visit Colombo on his way to attend a conference on geopolitics organised by the Indian External Affairs Ministry and Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. In the meantime, Alice Wells, the US principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, scheduled to attend the Indian conference, is also arriving in Colombo on Monday. The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers, as well as the US Deputy State Secretary, will be meeting Gotabaya Rajapaksa, media reports in Colombo said.
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Gotabaya deploys PTA against protesting families of missing persons

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 January 2020, 22:53 GMT]
The coordinator of the continuous protest in Vavuniyaa Jeyavanitha Kasippillai is again facing harassment from the ‘Terrorist’ Investigation Division of the SL Police which is compelling her to appear for an investigation under the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The cabinet of Gotabaya Rajapaksa has recently refused to withdraw the PTA. The latest harassment comes as the attempts by Douglas Devananda, an ex-paramilitary collaborator of Rajapaksa regime, miserably failed to end the continuous protests in the North and East. The families of Tamils subjected to enforced disappearances at the hands of the occupying Sinhala military have spent more than 1,055 days in continuous protests in the North and East.
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Nepal’s balancing act between powers carefully watched in Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 January 2020, 23:18 GMT]
The ruling Communist Party in Nepal is divided in opinion as the country’s parliament is required to ratify the mega infrastructure project the previous government had negotiated with US foreign aid agency, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2017. The critics of the MCC project argue that Nepal would be coerced into the military US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) by embracing the project. Why does the bilateral agreement have a binding clause of Indian approval, they ask. India is a major strategic partner to the US and one of the four military powers constituting the emerging Quad alliance led by the USA in the Indo-Pacific. The proponents argue that the US Congress-initiated MCC, which came into being long before the Pentagon’s IPS outlook must be seen as an economic programme without any military dimension attached to it. The Nepalese choices will have an impact on Colombo.
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61 parents of missing persons have perished while continuing protest beyond 1,050 days

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 January 2020, 23:30 GMT]
The kith and kin of Eezham Tamils subjected to enforced disappearances at the hands of the occupying Sinhala military are passing away, one by one. Their deaths occur as the SL State, and the global forces behind the deceptive ‘transitional justice’ mechanism continue to remain deaf to their demand of establishing the truth of what had happened to their loved ones. While a section of families avoid protests succumbing to the so-called pragmatic view that the SL military had assassinated all the missing family members under its captivity, the protesting families want an official answer establishing what had happened to their loved ones. 72-year-old Rasendram Soosaippillai from Oalaith-thoduvaay in Mannaar was the 61st parent to die without a response from the SL authorities on the whereabouts of his son, who was abducted ten years ago in Mannaar.
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Maha Sangha wants anti-LTTE forces mobilised to conquer economic war, international challenges

[TamilNet, Sunday, 05 January 2020, 22:22 GMT]
The Maha Sangha of the Sinhala Buddhist Theravada Establishment in the island staged an all-night Pirith Chanting Ceremony at SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence in Colombo on Saturday. While delivering a special sermon, Professor Ven Medagoda Abayatissa Thero “pointed out that the alliance that came together to defeat the LTTE should join again to conquer the economic war and international challenges,” a news release issued by the SL Presidential Secretariat revealed on Sunday. The Maha Sangha was invoking “blessings on the President, war heroes, the citizens and the country,” the news release further stated.
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Gotabaya's China visit postponed as Russian FM's visit to Colombo coincides with schedule

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 January 2020, 23:46 GMT]
SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s scheduled visit to China on 14 and 15 January 2020 has been postponed, media reports in Colombo said on Friday. Mr Rajapaksa visited New Delhi, a major strategic partner of the USA within two-weeks since getting elected as the SL president in November 2019. In the meantime, Chinese President Xi Jinping dispatched a special envoy in December 2019 to invite Mr Rajapaksa to China. The trip, scheduled to take place in January, has now been postponed due to the coinciding visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is expected in Colombo on 14 January. However, media reports in Colombo were trying to give the impression that the re-scheduling was taking place at Beijing’s request.
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Eezham Cinema takes shape with Chinam-ko'l movie filmed in occupied Tamil Eelam

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 January 2020, 23:41 GMT]
Sinamkol (Ciṉamkoḷ/சினம்கொள்), meaning “infuriate”, is a theatrical movie filmed in the occupied Tamil Eelam narrating the situation of former LTTE freedom fighters. The critically acclaimed film gets screened in Europe and North America this weekend (03-05 January) in eight countries, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and the USA, after a series of successful premiere shows. Canada-based Ranjith Joseph, the story writer and the director of the film, has demonstrated incredible ingenuity in circumventing the censorship hazards of the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka in making the movie, which was shot in 70 locations in the three districts of Ki'linochchi, Mullaiththeevu and Jaffna in 2017. The approach of the story is genuine to the core in all its aspects.
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Tamil Political Prisoner passes away after 26 years of SL imprisonment

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 January 2020, 23:07 GMT]
A 45-year-old Tamil Political Prisoner (TPP) from Batticaloa, Mahendran Sellappillai, passed away after suffering from a life-threatening illness (cancer) in the custody of genocidal Sri Lanka on Thursday. He was 19-year-old when the occupying Sinhala military detained him under the notorious so-called Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) during a cordon-and-search operation in Batticaloa on 27 September 1993, just three days after he had lived together with his newly married wife. The SL Army and its much-feared paramilitary operatives tortured Mahendran, who was illiterate. His family was poverty-stricken, and its livelihood was dependent on toddy-tapping. His life ended after twenty-six years, three-months and six days of custody in the various prisons of genocidal Sri Lanka. His story exposes not only the tragic fate of the TPPs but also the mindset of the SL regimes in Colombo.
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Modi wants “close and extensive” cooperation with Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 January 2020, 23:40 GMT]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was dialling to seven leaders of five neighbouring countries, except Pakistan, to greet the rulers chose to greet both Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa on the New Year Day. A statement issued by the office of Indian Prime Minister stated that Mr Modi wanted to expand “close and extensive cooperation” with Colombo. Rajapaksa siblings reciprocated his wishes and expressed their keen desire to enhance relations further, the statement said.
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