Lanka Def Sec asks China's embassy to 'educate' Chinese company employees not to wear military-style uniforms

Colombo: In an unusual move, Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary has asked the Chinese Embassy here to "educate" a Chinese private company dredging a reservoir in Hambantota, the hometown of the ruling Rajapaksa family, not to wear military-style camouflage uniforms in future.

Raising concerns, the Sri Lankan media recently reported that Chinese personnel wearing uniforms that are very much similar to those worn by soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army, have been seen roaming at a civil operation to dredge and clean the Tissamaharama Wewa' in the southern part of the island nation.

Taking note of the reports, Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne queried with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Sri Lanka and urged the mission to "educate the respective employer to refrain its employees from wearing the controversial military-style camouflage uniforms in future."

"The Ministry of Defence also informed the local private company to avoid the recurrence of such action henceforth," it said in a press release on Tuesday.

Gunaratne has also directed the Southern Province Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police to thwart any further attempt of such nature, the Ministry of Defence said.

The Chinese embassy has "affirmed" that the said employees are not members of China's People's Liberation Army and it is the respective overseas company's "overall uniform entitled to the staffers", the press release said.

The main Opposition had queried the presence of foreigners working in the Tissamaharama lake conservation wearing clothes similar to the Chinese military uniform.

The Director of Archaeology claimed that his department had not sanctioned the slit cleaning of the lake where these foreigners had been sighted wearing the alleged Chinese military uniforms.

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