Originally slated to arrive at the Chinese-run port on August 11, the ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship, “Yuan Wang 5,” was delayed because Sri Lankan officials refused to provide clearance due to security concerns voiced by India.
At 8:20 a.m. local time on August 16, the Chinese ship docked in the port of Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka. In order to refuel, it docked there.
local harbour master Nirmal Silva, the ship departed the port at 4:00 p.m.
Jiang Yin port in China will be its next port of call, according to officials.
The Hambantota port authorities stated that no personnel rotation occurred during the call as was previously planned. During the ship’s visit, Sri Lanka gave the Chinese embassy the support they required.
Due to India’s worries, Sri Lanka had requested that China postpone the visit. On August 13, Colombo allowed the vessel port access for the period of August 16 to August 22 under the condition that it remain within Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and refrain from doing any scientific research there.
Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Defence gave the warship permission to visit for replenishment during the predetermined time period.
It stated that there would be no staff rotation during the port call and that the Chinese Embassy in Colombo had asked the Sri Lankan authorities to give the required assistance.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry stated earlier this month that the security and collaboration in the neighbourhood are of the utmost importance while resolving the situation with the Chinese vessel Wang Yang 5.
For the use of frequencies and communication equipment pursuant to non-interference and non-protection basis, the local telecoms regulatory body has issued a No Objection Letter.
In New Delhi, there were worries that the ship’s tracking devices may try to eavesdrop on Indian defence facilities as it was on route to the port in Sri Lanka.
The U.S. Defense Department claims that the ship is commanded by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and is capable of tracking satellites and missile launches, despite China’s claims that it is utilised for scientific research.
Following Colombo’s failure to make payments on debts associated with the facility’s development, China in 2017 leased the port from Sri Lanka for 99 years, which raised questions about the ship’s arrival in the Hambantota port.
Given that the cash-strapped Sri Lankan government is requesting an early bailout from the International Monetary Fund, Colombo’s approval of the docking of the Chinese research vessel was important (IMF).
China is Sri Lanka’s largest creditor and is crucial to Sri Lanka’s efforts to restructure its debt in order to obtain an IMF bailout.