Friday, July 29, 2016 INTERNATIONAL

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SOUTH CHINA SEA ISSUE
China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks
James Holbrooks
 
Beijing should be ready to “let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force,” an editorial in a Chinese state-run paper warned on July 7 — less than a week before the International Court at The Hague (ICH) was set to rule on a territorial disagreement between China and the Philippines.
“China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks,” wrote the Global Times, “but it must be prepared for any military confrontation. This is common sense in international relations.”
The dispute is over an island chain in the South China Sea, the Spratlys, and the maritime rights to the waters surrounding them. At the heart of the issue is sovereignty, with both China and the Philippines claiming territorial control.
In June of 2015, China announced that the artificial island chain it had been constructing in the South China Sea — in disregard of territorial claims by other Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia — would be completed within days. In the year that’s followed, the country has built military buildings, ports, and airstrips on the connected atolls.
 
US warships
In October 2015, the U.S. sent the first of what would become a considerable number of warships — and, eventually, even an aircraft carrier — into the South China Sea as a direct challenge to China’s claims in the region.
As pretext for involvement in what’s a wholly Southeast Asian affair, the U.S. has continuously claimed its allies in the region — notably India and the Philippines, itself — are concerned over China’s bold territorial assertions.
As Forbes recently wrote:
“While it is still unclear which way the ICH will rule, one thing is clear: China’s aggressive standing in the South China Sea disputes has spooked its neighbours.”
But China has made it clear it sees such U.S. involvement as military provocation.
“The South China Sea dispute has been greatly complicated after heavy US intervention,” the Global Times editorial states. “Washington…wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles. As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China’s obedience.”
 
China’s military exercises
Accordingly, China’s Maritime Safety Administration announced it would be conducting military exercises in the waters of the South China Sea from July 5 to July 11 — the day before the ICH is set to make its ruling in the case brought before it by the Philippines.
“The drills are a very symbolic expression of China’s resolve,” Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Nanjing University, told the Time magazine. “It is definitely also responding to the recent American warships patrolling in the South China Sea.”
Complicating the situation further is the fact that China, claiming the ICH has no authority to rule on territorial disputes, has repeatedly stated it has no intention of abiding by the tribunal’s ruling.
This inconvenience appears to be something the Pentagon is choosing to ignore, however, as evidenced by recent statements made by spokesperson Peter Cook and reported by Reuters:
 
Diplomatic route
“‘We’ve pointed to the diplomatic route for resolving these issues…they should be resolved peacefully,’ he said, adding the ruling from The Hague would provide an opportunity for this.’”
Wishful thinking, it seems, on the part of United States.
But there’s another, perhaps even more troubling facet of this entanglement that merits consideration. And, in point of fact, was not-so-subtly addressed in a recent article by another of China’s state-run publications, the People’s Daily.
And that facet can be encapsulated in a single word: Russia.
“China and Russia vowed to strengthen global strategic stability,” reports the Daily, “in a joint statement signed by Chinese President Xi Jingping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on June 25 during Putin’s visit to Beijing.”
Additionally, the Daily points out that “China and Russia have held six joint naval exercises since 2005” and that, for the 2016 maneuvers, “it is very likely that the South China Sea Fleet will take its turn as the main power, and the location might be near the South China Sea.”
If not a veiled threat, it’s at a minimum a reminder to the U.S. that China is far from alone in its military capacity.
And considering the NATO summit in Warsaw is only days away from approving the deployment of four battalions along the Russian border in Eastern Europe — and amid ongoing and increasingly dangerous confrontations between the U.S. and Russia in Syria — it might do Washington, D.C., well to take China’s “reminder” to heart.
 
Resumption of talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 26 he supported the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following an international court ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month.
China did not participate in and has refused to accept the July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, in which U.S. ally Manila won an emphatic legal victory.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi had asked Kerry to lend his support for bilateral talks to restart between Manila and Beijing in a meeting between the two in the Laos capital of Vientiane.
“The foreign minister said the time has come to move away from public tensions and turn the page,” Kerry told a news conference. “And we agree with that ... no claimant should be acting in a way that is provocative, no claimant should take steps that wind up raising tensions.”
The court ruling has exacerbated tensions between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which are pulled between their desire to assert their sovereignty while fostering ties with an increasingly assertive Beijing.
China scored a diplomatic victory when ASEAN dropped any reference to the ruling from a joint statement at the end of the bloc’s foreign ministers’ meeting in the face of resolute objections from Cambodia, China’s closest ASEAN ally.
 
Negotiations with China
Kerry, who was due to travel to the Philippines later, said he would encourage Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to engage in dialogue and negotiations with China when the two meet in Manila.
Duterte has already appointed former President Fidel Ramos to visit Beijing and begin informal talks to resolve the dispute, a Philippine Foreign Ministry official said.
Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told reporters in Vientiane that the dispute was not between China and the United States but between China and the Philippines.
“We would like to pursue bilateral relationships in so far as the peaceful resolution of the dispute is concerned that is between the China and the Philippines. The others are not concerned with that dispute,” Yasay told reporters.
 
Peace and stability
Wang, who met Kerry on the sidelines of the ASEAN gathering in Laos, said he would welcome Ramos’ visit.
The Chinese foreign minister also told his U.S. counterpart that China and ASEAN had agreed the dispute should get back on to the “correct” track of being resolved by direct talks with the parties concerned, according to a foreign ministry statement released.
China “hopes the United States side takes actual steps to support the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines, and supports the efforts of China and ASEAN to maintain regional peace and stability”, Wang said.
Beijing claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tensions in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute, accusations Washington denies.
In an address to foreign ministers, including Kerry, at the gathering in Vientiane, Wang criticized the United States, Japan and Australia for a joint statement on the issue they released late.
The statement “continued to hype up the South China Sea issue and play up tensions,” he said. “Now is the time we will test whether you are protectors of peace or agitators.”
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, a senior U.S. administration official said at the end of a visit to China by National Security Adviser Susan Rice that she had emphasized all parties should take steps to reduce tensions and use the ruling to reinvigorate regional diplomacy.
—Countercurrents

Comment

James Holbrooks
 
Beijing should be ready to “let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force,” an editorial in a Chinese state-run paper warned on July 7 — less than a week before the International Court at The Hague (ICH) was set to rule on a territorial disagreement between China and the Philippines.
“China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks,” wrote the Global Times, “but it must be prepared for any military confrontation. This is common sense in international relations.”
The dispute is over an island chain in the South China Sea, the Spratlys, and the maritime rights to the waters surrounding them. At the heart of the issue is sovereignty, with both China and the Philippines claiming territorial control.
In June of 2015, China announced that the artificial island chain it had been constructing in the South China Sea — in disregard of territorial claims by other Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia — would be completed within days. In the year that’s followed, the country has built military buildings, ports, and airstrips on the connected atolls.
 
US warships
In October 2015, the U.S. sent the first of what would become a considerable number of warships — and, eventually, even an aircraft carrier — into the South China Sea as a direct challenge to China’s claims in the region.
As pretext for involvement in what’s a wholly Southeast Asian affair, the U.S. has continuously claimed its allies in the region — notably India and the Philippines, itself — are concerned over China’s bold territorial assertions.
As Forbes recently wrote:
“While it is still unclear which way the ICH will rule, one thing is clear: China’s aggressive standing in the South China Sea disputes has spooked its neighbours.”
But China has made it clear it sees such U.S. involvement as military provocation.
“The South China Sea dispute has been greatly complicated after heavy US intervention,” the Global Times editorial states. “Washington…wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles. As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China’s obedience.”
 
China’s military exercises
Accordingly, China’s Maritime Safety Administration announced it would be conducting military exercises in the waters of the South China Sea from July 5 to July 11 — the day before the ICH is set to make its ruling in the case brought before it by the Philippines.
“The drills are a very symbolic expression of China’s resolve,” Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Affairs at Nanjing University, told the Time magazine. “It is definitely also responding to the recent American warships patrolling in the South China Sea.”
Complicating the situation further is the fact that China, claiming the ICH has no authority to rule on territorial disputes, has repeatedly stated it has no intention of abiding by the tribunal’s ruling.
This inconvenience appears to be something the Pentagon is choosing to ignore, however, as evidenced by recent statements made by spokesperson Peter Cook and reported by Reuters:
 
Diplomatic route
“‘We’ve pointed to the diplomatic route for resolving these issues…they should be resolved peacefully,’ he said, adding the ruling from The Hague would provide an opportunity for this.’”
Wishful thinking, it seems, on the part of United States.
But there’s another, perhaps even more troubling facet of this entanglement that merits consideration. And, in point of fact, was not-so-subtly addressed in a recent article by another of China’s state-run publications, the People’s Daily.
And that facet can be encapsulated in a single word: Russia.
“China and Russia vowed to strengthen global strategic stability,” reports the Daily, “in a joint statement signed by Chinese President Xi Jingping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on June 25 during Putin’s visit to Beijing.”
Additionally, the Daily points out that “China and Russia have held six joint naval exercises since 2005” and that, for the 2016 maneuvers, “it is very likely that the South China Sea Fleet will take its turn as the main power, and the location might be near the South China Sea.”
If not a veiled threat, it’s at a minimum a reminder to the U.S. that China is far from alone in its military capacity.
And considering the NATO summit in Warsaw is only days away from approving the deployment of four battalions along the Russian border in Eastern Europe — and amid ongoing and increasingly dangerous confrontations between the U.S. and Russia in Syria — it might do Washington, D.C., well to take China’s “reminder” to heart.
 
Resumption of talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 26 he supported the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following an international court ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month.
China did not participate in and has refused to accept the July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, in which U.S. ally Manila won an emphatic legal victory.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi had asked Kerry to lend his support for bilateral talks to restart between Manila and Beijing in a meeting between the two in the Laos capital of Vientiane.
“The foreign minister said the time has come to move away from public tensions and turn the page,” Kerry told a news conference. “And we agree with that ... no claimant should be acting in a way that is provocative, no claimant should take steps that wind up raising tensions.”
The court ruling has exacerbated tensions between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which are pulled between their desire to assert their sovereignty while fostering ties with an increasingly assertive Beijing.
China scored a diplomatic victory when ASEAN dropped any reference to the ruling from a joint statement at the end of the bloc’s foreign ministers’ meeting in the face of resolute objections from Cambodia, China’s closest ASEAN ally.
 
Negotiations with China
Kerry, who was due to travel to the Philippines later, said he would encourage Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to engage in dialogue and negotiations with China when the two meet in Manila.
Duterte has already appointed former President Fidel Ramos to visit Beijing and begin informal talks to resolve the dispute, a Philippine Foreign Ministry official said.
Philippines Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told reporters in Vientiane that the dispute was not between China and the United States but between China and the Philippines.
“We would like to pursue bilateral relationships in so far as the peaceful resolution of the dispute is concerned that is between the China and the Philippines. The others are not concerned with that dispute,” Yasay told reporters.
 
Peace and stability
Wang, who met Kerry on the sidelines of the ASEAN gathering in Laos, said he would welcome Ramos’ visit.
The Chinese foreign minister also told his U.S. counterpart that China and ASEAN had agreed the dispute should get back on to the “correct” track of being resolved by direct talks with the parties concerned, according to a foreign ministry statement released.
China “hopes the United States side takes actual steps to support the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines, and supports the efforts of China and ASEAN to maintain regional peace and stability”, Wang said.
Beijing claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tensions in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute, accusations Washington denies.
In an address to foreign ministers, including Kerry, at the gathering in Vientiane, Wang criticized the United States, Japan and Australia for a joint statement on the issue they released late.
The statement “continued to hype up the South China Sea issue and play up tensions,” he said. “Now is the time we will test whether you are protectors of peace or agitators.”
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, a senior U.S. administration official said at the end of a visit to China by National Security Adviser Susan Rice that she had emphasized all parties should take steps to reduce tensions and use the ruling to reinvigorate regional diplomacy.
—Countercurrents

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Sri Lanka: Keeping ethnic conflict from getting back 

Jehan Perera in Colombo
 
THE ETHNIC fault line in society was exposed in the clash between two groups of students at Jaffna University last week.  The immediate cause of the dispute was a late request by Sinhalese students at the university to perform the traditional Sinhalese Kandyan dance at a ceremony to welcome incoming new students.  This request was turned down by the organizers of the event.  However, the following day when the event took place a Kandyan dancing troupe made its appearance which was resisted by the larger student body.  The end result was a violent confrontation between two groups of students who divided on ethnic lines.  This resulted in the temporary closure of the university, and the university administration, in an abundance of caution busing the Sinhalese students out of Jaffna.
Both sides to the dispute had their cases to make.  On the side of the organizers the previous practice had been to only have a traditional Tamil cultural procession as an opening item on the agenda.  The request for a change had come only the day before the event when the programme for the event had already been finalized.  On the other hand, the students who wanted the insertion of the Kandyan dance argued that a significant proportion of the incoming students were Sinhalese and in addition the Science Faculty which they were joining had a majority of Sinhalese students in it.  This was a problem that might have had an outcome based on a win-win solution if the focus had been on meeting the needs of the two student groups rather than on the contrary positions they took, which alas had no meeting point.
There is speculation that the conflict arose because some of the students wanted a conflict that could be politicized.  Most universities in Sri Lanka are invariably hotbeds of extremist politics which are dominated by student unions which tend to be extremist in their orientation.   Most of them are also affiliated to national political parties which their leaders might wish to be part of at the conclusion of the period of their university studies.  However, the irony is that the majority of the larger student body tends to be moderate and focused on engaging in their studies without getting embroiled in political disputes.  As might have been expected some of the political parties and their leaders seized upon the issue in a manner so as to highlight their continuing relevance.
 
Immediate response
On the positive side, and unlike in the past, immediate actions were taken by a number of actors and on a number of fronts to defuse the brewing crisis.  The highest levels of government including the President and Prime Minister gave attention to the developments in order to ensure that there would be a resolution of the conflict.   The decision of the Jaffna University authorities to close the university and to send back the Sinhalese students to their homes a safety measure was deemed by the government leaders as too extreme a step, which they countermanded.  Instead increased attention was given to ensuring that adequate safety to the Sinhalese students, or any other student f or that matter, was available in Jaffna itself.
In addition, and unlike in the past, there were several statements that were immediately issued by Tamil political leaders and by university teachers from Jaffna that condemned the violence and urged calm.  The power and influence of those who sought to calm the situation was much greater than those who might have wished to increase the tensions for their own purposes.  As a result the clash between the two groups of students in Jaffna could not grow to communal proportions.  The ability of all concerned to prevent the conflict from escalating is an indication of how inter-ethnic relations in the country are better than they have been in the past, and are on an improving trend.  On the other hand, probing the roots of the conflict, the Northern Provincial Council issued a statement that identified the demographic pattern of the North and East after the war as being consciously changed and students from other provinces being admitted in large numbers into Jaffna University.
The statement issued by the Northern Provincial Council and signed by both its Chief Minister and Opposition Leader, and which cannot simply be dismissed as being the political maneuverings of extremists, contains feelings and facts that need to be taken seriously.  The Northern Provincial Council represents the population of the Northern Province and not just a small fraction of the people.  The views articulated by the Northern Provincial Council can sometimes be diametrically opposed to the views of those in other parts of the country including the government.  But even when those views are unpalatable to the government, the truth in them needs to be discerned and responded to.  In this instance the Northern Provincial Council has stated that the influx of Sinhalese students into Jaffna University is akin to cultural colonization.
 
Conflict sensitive
During the past Vesak festival I happened to be in Jaffna and travelled past the university.  Its entrance and the park in front of the university buildings appeared to be a sea of lanterns and other Vesak decorations.  I wondered whether other universities in other parts of the country, including those where Sinhalese were the dominant population, had Vesak celebrations on the scale that was being practiced in Jaffna University.  It is unlikely that the students alone would have had either the economic resources or the physical capacity to put up those decorations on a large scale.  In a context in which Tamil grievances have included the sense of their traditional areas of inhabitation being changed by state-sponsored colonization, it is necessary to adopt a more low key approach to highlighting Sinhalese cultural symbols in Tamil dominant areas.
A similar conflict sensitive approach needs to be adopted to modify the system of admission to universities in different parts of the country.  On the one hand, it is necessary to keep in mind that the universities are part of a national system in which merit is the primary criterion for selection for university admission.  On the other hand, the universities in Jaffna, Batticaloa (Eastern University) and Oluvil (South Eastern University) have been seen by the ethnic and religious minorities as flagships of the cultural ethos of the communities that are a majority in those areas.  When the ratio within the student body gets totally out of proportion to the prevailing ethnic ratio in those areas, it creates tensions that can spill over from the universities into the large society.    The clash in Jaffna was preceded in March this year by a clash between Tamil and Sinhalese university students in the Trincomalee campus of Eastern University over an incident of ragging. 
In Jaffna it was reported that Sinhalese students in the Science Faculty amounted to 60 percent while overall in the university it is about 25 per cent.  In Eastern University in Batticaloa the situation is broadly similar with the Science Faculty having 76 percent, Commerce 84 per cent, medicine 52 per cent and agriculture 78 per cent in terms of the Sinhalese students for the 2013/14 batch in which the overall Sinhalese presence is about 50 percent.  It may be necessary to restructure the university admission which is currently based on a national merit-based policy or permit the provincial councils to set up regional universities that can give priority to local area students.   There could also be an option of fee paying students who could come from the immediate geographical area which could increase the ethnic representation in the universities to approximate the area in which they are located.   Most importantly, a relationship of trust and cooperation needs to permeate the student consciousness and the larger community level also.  There is a need for a more concerted effort to be made for people-to-people engagement to develop greater understanding and sensitivity to the concerns of each ethnic and religious community.

Comment

Jehan Perera in Colombo
 
THE ETHNIC fault line in society was exposed in the clash between two groups of students at Jaffna University last week.  The immediate cause of the dispute was a late request by Sinhalese students at the university to perform the traditional Sinhalese Kandyan dance at a ceremony to welcome incoming new students.  This request was turned down by the organizers of the event.  However, the following day when the event took place a Kandyan dancing troupe made its appearance which was resisted by the larger student body.  The end result was a violent confrontation between two groups of students who divided on ethnic lines.  This resulted in the temporary closure of the university, and the university administration, in an abundance of caution busing the Sinhalese students out of Jaffna.
Both sides to the dispute had their cases to make.  On the side of the organizers the previous practice had been to only have a traditional Tamil cultural procession as an opening item on the agenda.  The request for a change had come only the day before the event when the programme for the event had already been finalized.  On the other hand, the students who wanted the insertion of the Kandyan dance argued that a significant proportion of the incoming students were Sinhalese and in addition the Science Faculty which they were joining had a majority of Sinhalese students in it.  This was a problem that might have had an outcome based on a win-win solution if the focus had been on meeting the needs of the two student groups rather than on the contrary positions they took, which alas had no meeting point.
There is speculation that the conflict arose because some of the students wanted a conflict that could be politicized.  Most universities in Sri Lanka are invariably hotbeds of extremist politics which are dominated by student unions which tend to be extremist in their orientation.   Most of them are also affiliated to national political parties which their leaders might wish to be part of at the conclusion of the period of their university studies.  However, the irony is that the majority of the larger student body tends to be moderate and focused on engaging in their studies without getting embroiled in political disputes.  As might have been expected some of the political parties and their leaders seized upon the issue in a manner so as to highlight their continuing relevance.
 
Immediate response
On the positive side, and unlike in the past, immediate actions were taken by a number of actors and on a number of fronts to defuse the brewing crisis.  The highest levels of government including the President and Prime Minister gave attention to the developments in order to ensure that there would be a resolution of the conflict.   The decision of the Jaffna University authorities to close the university and to send back the Sinhalese students to their homes a safety measure was deemed by the government leaders as too extreme a step, which they countermanded.  Instead increased attention was given to ensuring that adequate safety to the Sinhalese students, or any other student f or that matter, was available in Jaffna itself.
In addition, and unlike in the past, there were several statements that were immediately issued by Tamil political leaders and by university teachers from Jaffna that condemned the violence and urged calm.  The power and influence of those who sought to calm the situation was much greater than those who might have wished to increase the tensions for their own purposes.  As a result the clash between the two groups of students in Jaffna could not grow to communal proportions.  The ability of all concerned to prevent the conflict from escalating is an indication of how inter-ethnic relations in the country are better than they have been in the past, and are on an improving trend.  On the other hand, probing the roots of the conflict, the Northern Provincial Council issued a statement that identified the demographic pattern of the North and East after the war as being consciously changed and students from other provinces being admitted in large numbers into Jaffna University.
The statement issued by the Northern Provincial Council and signed by both its Chief Minister and Opposition Leader, and which cannot simply be dismissed as being the political maneuverings of extremists, contains feelings and facts that need to be taken seriously.  The Northern Provincial Council represents the population of the Northern Province and not just a small fraction of the people.  The views articulated by the Northern Provincial Council can sometimes be diametrically opposed to the views of those in other parts of the country including the government.  But even when those views are unpalatable to the government, the truth in them needs to be discerned and responded to.  In this instance the Northern Provincial Council has stated that the influx of Sinhalese students into Jaffna University is akin to cultural colonization.
 
Conflict sensitive
During the past Vesak festival I happened to be in Jaffna and travelled past the university.  Its entrance and the park in front of the university buildings appeared to be a sea of lanterns and other Vesak decorations.  I wondered whether other universities in other parts of the country, including those where Sinhalese were the dominant population, had Vesak celebrations on the scale that was being practiced in Jaffna University.  It is unlikely that the students alone would have had either the economic resources or the physical capacity to put up those decorations on a large scale.  In a context in which Tamil grievances have included the sense of their traditional areas of inhabitation being changed by state-sponsored colonization, it is necessary to adopt a more low key approach to highlighting Sinhalese cultural symbols in Tamil dominant areas.
A similar conflict sensitive approach needs to be adopted to modify the system of admission to universities in different parts of the country.  On the one hand, it is necessary to keep in mind that the universities are part of a national system in which merit is the primary criterion for selection for university admission.  On the other hand, the universities in Jaffna, Batticaloa (Eastern University) and Oluvil (South Eastern University) have been seen by the ethnic and religious minorities as flagships of the cultural ethos of the communities that are a majority in those areas.  When the ratio within the student body gets totally out of proportion to the prevailing ethnic ratio in those areas, it creates tensions that can spill over from the universities into the large society.    The clash in Jaffna was preceded in March this year by a clash between Tamil and Sinhalese university students in the Trincomalee campus of Eastern University over an incident of ragging. 
In Jaffna it was reported that Sinhalese students in the Science Faculty amounted to 60 percent while overall in the university it is about 25 per cent.  In Eastern University in Batticaloa the situation is broadly similar with the Science Faculty having 76 percent, Commerce 84 per cent, medicine 52 per cent and agriculture 78 per cent in terms of the Sinhalese students for the 2013/14 batch in which the overall Sinhalese presence is about 50 percent.  It may be necessary to restructure the university admission which is currently based on a national merit-based policy or permit the provincial councils to set up regional universities that can give priority to local area students.   There could also be an option of fee paying students who could come from the immediate geographical area which could increase the ethnic representation in the universities to approximate the area in which they are located.   Most importantly, a relationship of trust and cooperation needs to permeate the student consciousness and the larger community level also.  There is a need for a more concerted effort to be made for people-to-people engagement to develop greater understanding and sensitivity to the concerns of each ethnic and religious community.

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