Chinese vessel won't dock at Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port as scheduled: Report

Updated on Aug 11, 2022 11:20 PM IST

The Harbour Master for Hambantota Port said the Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship 'Yuan Wang 5' will not reach the port.

Chinese Yuan Wang 5 military vessel has the ability to map ocean beds and track satellites of adversary nations.
Chinese Yuan Wang 5 military vessel has the ability to map ocean beds and track satellites of adversary nations.
By, New Delhi

China's high-tech Chinese research vessel, which was to dock at Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port, won't reach there as scheduled, according to a media report on Thursday, citing the port authorities. Newsfirst.lk website reported that the Harbour Master for the Hambantota Port said no vessel can enter the port without his permission.

It said the Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship 'Yuan Wang 5' will not reach Hambantota Port on Thursday. However, there was no announcement on whether or not the vessel will be allowed to enter the Hambantota Port.

On Monday, China had described as “senseless” India’s opposition to the docking of a Chinese ship at a Sri Lankan port, saying “relevant” countries should stop disturbing normal exchanges between Beijing and Colombo.

China’s Yuan Wang 5, a space and satellite tracking vessel, was allowed by Colombo last month to dock at the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota between August 11 and 17, raising security concerns in New Delhi.

Reports from Colombo said following India’s concerns, Sri Lanka had asked Beijing to defer the arrival of the ship.

Responding to the reports, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, said on Monday that Beijing had taken note of the reports and asserted that “the cooperation between China and Sri Lanka is independently chosen by the two countries and meets common interests. It does not target any third party”.

It is “senseless to pressure Sri Lanka” by citing the issue of security concerns, Wang said, in reference to the reports that Sri Lanka’s move was attributed to concerns expressed by India.

According to diplomats based in Colombo, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry sent a note verbale to the embassy of China referring to a ministry’s note on July 12, 2022, conveying clearances for vessel Yuan Wang 5 to enter the port of Hambantota for “replenishment purposes.”

India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at Hambantota as it was shown as a research vessel while the spy ship can map the ocean bed which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. It is understood that the Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka muscled his way with the Sri Lankan government and said that denial of permission to the vessel would have an impact on bilateral ties.

(With inputs from agencies)

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