The formation of the world’s largest regional trade bloc – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November 2020 – on Sri Lanka’s doorstep raises fresh questions about how the country will navigate its most recent Asia-centric re-positioning.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a global emergency. Amid geopolitical tensions, prospects for the Chinese economy and global economic growth have weakened further with the outbreak of the coronavirus. According to a recent paper by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) that measured which countries are susceptible to the impact of the coronavirus and the resulting slowdown in China’s economy, Sri Lanka was among the low and middle income countries which are most vulnerable to the situation.
The ongoing battle between the US and the Chinese tech giant, Huawei, is escalating due to both parties’ eagerness to dominate 5G technology, the next major global technological revolution. Just recently, the US government blacklisted Huawei, creating chaos around the globe. Despite this, 5G technology is a massive breakthrough in the telecommunication industry and can herald significant changes in Sri Lanka as well. A few network service providers have already taken initiatives to deploy this technology in the country. This blog highlights the factors that prompted the accelerating tension between US and Huawei, and in turn discusses how it might affect Sri Lanka.
As Sri Lanka, like many other developing countries, escalates its engagement with China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the question of debt entrapment requires a more rigorous review. Criticism of Chinese loan disbursements have focused not only on the volume of funds, but also on the terms. However, the author argues that, Chinese loans are not the primary cause of Sri Lanka’s debt imbroglio; but, they have contributed to, and possibly aggravated, the problem.
Sri Lanka occupies a pivotal position as a strategic asset to both India and China, and despite its role as a pioneer of SAARC, the country is increasingly turning towards broader engagement with East Asia. This blog examines how Sri Lanka can delicately balance both Indian and Chinese interests to its advantage, to leverage the benefits of both regional superpowers.