US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives this month, officials of both Indian Ocean nations said on Tuesday, asWashington seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Pompeo will hold two-way talks in Colombo on October 28, a spokesman for Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry said, but gave no details.
“Incoming visits of official foreign delegations will be announced once a visit is scheduled and confirmed,” the Maldives’ foreign ministry said in a statement.
China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, visited Colombo this month. In recent years, Beijing has increasingly provided financing and construction for critical infrastructure in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, alarming traditional regional power India.
Last week, an Indian government source said Pompeo was also set to visit New Delhi this month, along with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, for talks with Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.