Wed, 27 Sep 2023

Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 14 (ANI): Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister confirmed that the Chinese vessel 'Yuan Wang-5', widely believed to be a spy ship, has been given clearance to arrive at Hambantota Port on August 16.

"Having considered all material in place, on 13 August 2022, the clearance to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China was conveyed for the deferred arrival of the vessel from 16-22 August 2022," Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Giving details about the process, the foreign affairs ministry said that they were informed by China via a diplomatic note on June 28 regarding Yuan Wang 5 arrival.

Notably, the Chinese vessel was earlier scheduled to dock at the Chinese-leased Hambantota port on August 11, but now will arrive on August 16 and will leave on August 22.

The Sri Lankan government was requested to provide necessary assistance and positive consideration to the request by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China.

"On 12 August 2022 the Embassy of the People's Republic of China informed the Ministry via Diplomatic Note that the vessel Yuan Wang-5 was scheduled to arrive in the port of Hambantota on 16 August 2022 and applied for clearance for replenishment purposes for the new dates 16 to 22 August 2022," the statement reads.

Sri Lankan foreign ministry wished to reiterate their country's policy of cooperation and friendship with all countries. Security and cooperation in the neighborhood are of utmost priority.

It is Sri Lanka's intention to safeguard the legitimate interests of all countries, in keeping with its international obligations. The Ministry is deeply appreciative of the support, solidarity, and understanding of all countries, especially in the current juncture when the country is in the process of addressing severe economic challenges and engaging in multiple domestic processes to ensure the welfare of the Sri Lankan people, Ministry of Foreign affairs said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Sri Lanka confirmed that it has communicated to China to defer the visit of the Chinese vessel Yuang Wang 5 to Hambantota port.

The Chinese vessel was scheduled to dock at Chinese-leased Hambantota port on August 11 for refuelling and leave on August 17.

"The Ministry has communicated to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Colombo to defer the visit of the said vessel to the Hambantota port," the foreign ministry had said in the statement.

The Government has since engaged in extensive consultations at a high level through diplomatic channels with all parties concerned, with a view to resolving the matter in a spirit of friendship, mutual trust and constructive dialogue, taking into account the interests of all parties concerned, and in line with the principle of sovereign equality of states. In light of concerns raised, the Ministry also sought further information and material that could assist in consultations on the matter.

The Foreign Ministry had stated it wishes to reaffirm the enduring friendship and excellent relations between Sri Lanka and China which remain on a solid foundation, as reiterated most recently by the two Foreign Ministers Ali Sabry and Wang Yi at a bilateral meeting in Phnom Penh on August 4.

Hambantota port, located around 250 kms from Colombo was built with high-interest Chinese loans. The Sri Lankan government struggled to repay the debt they had taken from China following which the port was handed over to the Chinese on a 99-year lease. (ANI)

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