Sri Lanka has urged China to postpone the entry of the controversial Chinese ship ‘Yuan Wang 5′ into the Chinese-controlled port of Southern Hambantota, after pressure from its immediate neighbour India.
The Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka stated in a letter to the Chinese Embassy in Colombo: “The Ministry wishes to request that the arrival date of the vessel Yuan Wang 5 in Hambantota to be deferred until further consultation is made on this matter.”
The Foreign Ministry stated, in reference to the permission granted on July 12 allowing the Chinese ship to enter the Hambantota Port: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka presents its compliments to the Embassy of People’s Republic of China in Colombo and has the honour to refer to the Ministry’s Note No. PR/0640/2022 dated July 12, 2022 conveying the clearances for the visit of the vessel Yuan Wang 5 to enter the Port of Hambantota for replenishment purposes.”
India had expressed its concern to the Sri Lankan government weeks before the visit of the Chinese’spy’ ship. In light of the arrival of a Chinese’research’ vessel scheduled to arrive in Hambantota on August 11, India has warned that it will closely monitor all developments concerning her security.
A bilateral agreement signed in 1987 states that no Sri Lankan port may be used for military purposes by any country in a way that is detrimental to India’s interests.
In response to India’s concerns, Sri Lanka previously stated that the Chinese ship’s visit was only for “refuelling and replenishment of other facilities and provisions.”
“The ship or members of its crew will not involve in any internal affairs or business in Sri Lanka. China and India have always helped Sri Lanka domestically and in the international fora as true friends,” Cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Bandula Gunawarndena had stated.
“Sri Lanka would not do anything to harm the good understanding and trust existing between the two countries for millennia. Under no circumstances would Sri Lanka act detrimental to the interests of India or China as both nations have been Sri Lanka’s friends-in-need and have stood alongside Sri Lanka at all times,” he had said.