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Chinese vessel arrives in Sri Lanka; India express concerns

Chinese research ship Yuan Wang 5, arrived at Hambantota port at Sri Lanka. According to local media reports as quoted by news agency ANI vessel has docked the port on Tuesday morning.

The research vessel capable of tracking satellites and intercontinental missiles, was earlier scheduled to dock at the Chinese-leased Hambantota Port on August 11, however, was deferred for a while after India raised its concerns.

Sri Lanka confirmed that the country has communicated to China to defer the visit of this survey vessel to here.
Further, the Chinese Embassy requested the Sri Lankan government to provide necessary assistance and positive consideration for the ship to dock.

The Chinese Embassy informed Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry on August 12 via a diplomatic note that the Yuag Wang 5 vessel was scheduled to arrive at Hambantota port on Tuesday, August 16 and it had already applied for clearance of replenishment purposes for the new date from August 16 to 22 this year, as per ANI reports.

After this decision taken by Sri Lankan government, China had said that the cooperation between two countries is independently chosen themselves and meets common interests.

Beijing had said that it is “senseless” to pressure Sri Lanka by citing the issue of security concerns in reference to reports that the decision had been taken following the concerns expressed by India.

Yuan Want 5, designated as a research and survey vessel, was built in 2007 and has a capacity of 11,000 tones.

Hambantota Port in China is located around 250 km from Colombo and was built with the help of high-interest Chinese loans. The Sri Lankan government struggled to repay the debt they had taken from China. Following this situation, the port was handed over to the Chinese on a 99-year lease.

Meanwhile, India had expressed security concerns over the docking of the research and survey vessel at the Sri Lankan airport as it has capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy.

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