As the Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship Yuan Wang 5 arrived Tuesday morning (16) at Hambantota Port, a strategically important deep sea port in southern Sri Lanka, Tuesday, China said the activities of its vessel will not affect the security of any country and should not be “Obstructed” by any “Third party” – a reference to India and its security concerns.
Asked about Delhi’s concerns and the delay in the visit of the Chinese ship, Qi Zhenhong, Beijing’s Envoy in Sri Lanka, who was present at the Hambantota Port during the ship’s arrival, told reporters, “I don’t know, you should ask the Indian friends… I don’t know. Maybe this is life.”
There was no official response from New Delhi to the development. On Sunday (15), ahead of the ship’s arrival, Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickemesinghe said China will not be allowed to use the Port of Hambantota for military purposes.
Last week, before Colombo’s U-turn, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs had said, “Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and makes its own independent decisions.”
In Beijing Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Yuan Wang 5 has “Successfully berthed” at Hambantota Port with “Active cooperation from the Sri Lankan side.”
He said when the ship arrived, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong hosted the onsite welcoming ceremony at Hambantota Port, which Beijing took over on a 99-year lease as a debt swap in 2017.
Referring to Indian and the United States concerns over the ship, Wang said, “I want to stress again that the marine scientific research activities of the Yuan Wang 5 are consistent with international law and international common practice.”
“They do not affect the security and the economic interests of any country and should not be obstructed by any third party,” he said.
He said the ceremony was attended by a representative of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasinghe besides “More than ten heads of parties and heads of friendly communities.”
“It will take some time for the Yuan Wang 5 research ship to complete the replenishment of necessary supplies,” he said.
Courtesy: The Indian Express