Chinese research ship to leave Sri Lanka today

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Chinese high-tech research vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’, which had arrived in the island last week, is scheduled to leave for China again today (22).

Accordingly, it has been informed that the ship will leave for China again at 4 pm today, said the Harbor Master Captain Nirmal Silva.

The ship arrived at the Hambantota port on the 16th of August and it was allowed to dock at the port until today.

The Yuan Wang 5 survey vessel is described by security analysts as the latest generation of China’s space-tracking ships capable of monitoring satellites, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The vessel with some 2,000 sailors on board has facilities to track satellites and intercontinental missiles.

The stopover was initially scheduled for August 11, but was delayed at the request of the Sri Lankan government. According to reports, Sri Lanka had asked China to defer the visit following reported concerns expressed by India and the U.S.

According to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Yuan Wang 5 was cleared to dock at Hambantota port from Tuesday to August 22 after the government “engaged in extensive consultations at a high level through diplomatic channels with all parties concerned.”

After Sri Lanka asked it to defer the entry of the ship, China on August 8 reacting angrily said it was “completely unjustified” for certain countries to cite the so-called “security concerns” to pressure Colombo and “grossly interfere” in its internal affairs.

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry statement on August 13 said that Colombo held extensive consultations about “certain concerns”.

Apparently, referring to Indian and US concerns over the ship with military applications berthing at the Hambantota port in the Indian Ocean, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on August 17, “I want to stress again that the marine scientific research activities of the Yuan Wang-5 ship are consistent with international law and international customary practice.”

“They do not affect the security and economic interests of any country and should not be obstructed by any third party,” he said.

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