One of the main topics of discussion among political circles in Colombo these days is what is in the letter sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Ranil.
Ranil and the government are trying to show that the Chinese President’s letter gives a good message about debt restructuring. Ranil tried to go on a visit to China after becoming president, but it was not successful. Sources in the Chinese embassy reported that attempts to contact the Chinese president over the phone to discuss debt restructuring were also unsuccessful. In this situation, it is impossible to think that there is a good message in the Chinese President’s letter.
It is not known whether it is a good message or not, but there are also rumors that the Chinese President’s letter has a shopping list for debt restructuring. Chen Zhou, the head of the Chinese delegation to Sri Lanka has said that they should work together to implement Chinese projects in Hambantota and Colombo port city. This statement shows that the Chinese President’s letter has reminded Sri Lanka of its promises to China.
Chinese presidents are good at writing letters to Sri Lankan presidents and prime ministers. The controversial letter sent by a Chinese president to a Sri Lankan leader was written during Mrs. Bandaranaike’s government. The then Prime Minister Mrs. Bandaranaike suspected that China was supporting the JVP during the 1971 rebellion.
On April 5, 1971, a Chinese arms ship was docked at the port of Colombo. The ship carrying weapons was supposed to leave for Tanzania. The Prime Minister raised doubts about this ship because there was evidence that North Korea is helping the JVP, and because North Korea is a close friend of China, the suspicion arose that China is also helping the JVP through North Korea.
Meanwhile, the Indian newspaper Hindustan Standard reported that the Indian Navy has arrested a North Korean trawler carrying weapons the rebels. The Prime Minister had summoned the Chinese ambassador and questioned him about the activities of North Korea. In this regard, Chinese President Chou en Lai had sent a letter to Prime Minister Bandaranaike. Below is the letter.
China did not make the article public. The reason is a mystery. Like that letter, the letter given to Ranil has not been made public by China yet.
‘I am grateful to your Excellency and the Ceylon government for your trust in the Chinese Government and your friendly sentiments towards the Chines people. The friendship between China and Ceylon is in the fundamental interests of the two people and can stand tests. The Chinese government and people highly treasure the friendship between or two countries and no one with ulterior motive will eve succeed in trying to sow discord and sabotage our friendly relations.
Following Chairman Mao Tse- tung’s teaching the Chinese people have all along opposed ultra ‘left’ and right opportunism in the protected revolutionary struggles. We are glad to see that thanks to the efforts of your Excellency and the Ceylon Government, the chaotic situation created by a handful of persons who style themselves ‘Guevarists’ and into whose ranks foreign spies have sneaked has been brought under control. We believe that as a result of your Excellency’s leadership and the cooperation and support of the Ceylonese people these acts of rebellion plotted by reactionaries at home and abroad for the purpose of undermining the interests of the Ceylonese people are bound to fail.
We ful agree to the correct position of defending state sovereignty and guarding against foreign interference as referred to by your Excellency. The Chinese Government and people admire this and firmly support Ceylon in her just struggle towards this end. As your excellency is deeply aware the Chinese Government has consistently abided by the Five Principles of Peaceful Co – existence, and is also firmly oppose and particularly to foreign reactionaries taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out armed intervention. I would lie once again to reaffirm this unshakable stand of the Chinese Government.
In the interest of the friendship between China and Ceylon and in consideration of the needs of the Ceylon Government, the Chinese, in compliance with the request of the Ceylon Government agree to provide it with a long-term interest-free loan of 150 million rupees in convertible foreign exchange. We would like to hear any views that Your Excellency might have on this matter. We are prepared to deliver a portion of the loan in May and sign a document on it. As for the other material assistance, please let us know if it is needed.‘