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International relations

Sri Lanka assured of China's help in burying post-war obligations

With UNHRC seat, Beijing expected to shield Rajapaksa from human rights scrutiny

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, left, pictured with his brother and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is turning to China to help deflect international criticism of the country's record on human rights during its long civil war. (Source photos by Rie Ishii and Reuters)

COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka's ultranationalist government has received a diplomatic shot in the arm from China as it prepares for a showdown early next year at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Geneva-based body where the South Asian nation has been under international scrutiny for its grisly civil war record.

Beijing's offer featured during official talks this month with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was elected last November in a landslide. China promised to defend Sri Lanka's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity "at international fora including the United Nations Human Rights Council," Yang Jiechi, China's top foreign policy official, told Rajapaksa during talks in Sri Lanka.

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