‘Senseless’: Beijing unhappy as India opposes docking of Chinese ship at Sri Lankan port

Published on Aug 08, 2022 07:13 PM IST

China’s Yuan Wang 5, a space and satellite tracking vessel, was supposed to dock at the port of Hambantota between August 11 and 17, raising security concerns in New Delhi. Reports from Colombo said that following India’s concerns, Sri Lanka had asked Beijing to defer the arrival of the ship

China’s Yuan Wang 5 is seen docked on October 2, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The ship is described as a naval vessel used for tracking and supporting satellites. (Getty Images)
China’s Yuan Wang 5 is seen docked on October 2, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The ship is described as a naval vessel used for tracking and supporting satellites. (Getty Images)

BEIJING: China on Monday 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 that 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.

“Sri Lanka is a sovereign state. It can develop relations with other countries in the light of its own development interests. The cooperation between China and Sri Lanka is independently chosen by the two countries and meets common interests,” Wang said.

“China urges relevant parties to see China’s scientific explorations in a reasonable and sensible way and stop disturbing the normal exchange between China and Sri Lanka,” Wang said.

Sri Lanka is a transport hub in the Indian Ocean, Wang said, adding that many scientific exploration ships including those from China have stopped at Sri Lankan ports for resupplies.

“China has always exercised the freedom of navigation in the high seas and fully respects and fully respects the jurisdiction of coastal states of the scientific exploration activities within their jurisdiction waters,” Wang said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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