Sri Lanka: Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang 5 anchors at Hambantota port

Colombo, August 16th: A controversial Chinese ship equipped with ballistic missiles and satellite tracking facilities has docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port.

Dockworkers waved Sri Lankan and Chinese flags to warmly welcome Yuan Wang 5, and the ship, which will remain anchored until August 22, displayed a large banner reading “Hello Sri Lanka,” CNN reported. ing.

However, the ship’s arrival appears to have exacerbated tensions between New Delhi and Beijing. Both countries spend billions of dollars on development and trade with Sri Lanka, an island of 22 million people located on an important trade route.

The Yuan Wang 5 initially asked for permission to enter the port last week, but the visit was postponed after concerns were raised about the ship’s presence, although India denied pressure on Colombo.

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China says the ship is being used for scientific research, but the Pentagon says the ship is under the command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and can track satellites and missile launches. reported CNN. China: Repression of ethnic minorities intensifies under Xi Jinping leadership.

On 13 August, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government had held “extensive” consultations with “all parties” “with the aim of resolving the issue in the spirit of friendship, mutual trust and constructive dialogue.” rice field.

The vessel said it was allowed to dock on the condition that no scientific research would be conducted in Sri Lankan waters.

China leased Hambantota port from Sri Lanka in 2017 for 99 years after Colombo was unable to pay debts related to building the facility.

At the time, the deal raised concerns that China would gain access to important shipping routes and fall within India’s traditional sphere of influence. The presence of ships laden with advanced technology has also unsettled Sri Lanka’s neighbors, he reported to CNN.

According to a U.S. Department of Defense report released last year, the ship is under the command of the PLA’s Strategic Support Force (SSF) and is “the PLA’s strategic spatial, cyber, electronic, information, communications, and psychological warfare missions and capabilities. ”.

“SSF also operates the Yuan Wang space support vessel, which tracks satellites and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches,” the report said.

Carl Schuster, a former U.S. Navy captain and former director of operations for the U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, said New Delhi’s concern over the ship’s presence in Sri Lanka was due to its surveillance capabilities. said it was likely something.

“Espionage is not her primary mission, her primary mission is satellite tracking and monitoring Chinese rocket launches, telemetry, and satellite status, but the same functions can be used to monitor other countries’ satellite operations, downlinks, and missile telemetry. “It’s used a lot,” he said. He said.

China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the ship was carrying out scientific research “in accordance with international law”.

“It should not affect the security or economic interests of any country and should not be interfered by a third party,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

(The above article was first published on LatestLY on August 16, 2022 at 4:32 PM (IST).For news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, please visit our website Please log on to the site. Sri Lanka: Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang 5 anchors at Hambantota port

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