China’s unserving maneuver to dock the Yuan Wang 5, missile and satellite tracking ship at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka despite the country’s request to defer the visit of the ship amid security concerns raised by India and the United States might seem like a victory for Beijing in this strategically important island nation but in fact, it reinforces the image of China as a predatory imperial power that is trying to exploit Sri Lanka for its own purposes, a media report said.
The Yuan Wang 5, China’s missile and satellite tracking ship which had berthed at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka departed on Monday.
There were grave concerns that the ship could conduct satellite research in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean region, prompting security concerns from India.
India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was touted as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to the anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy.
However, China claimed that the docking of its Yuan Wang 5 ship at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka does not affect any country and termed it a normal exchange between the two countries.
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.
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.
China’s strategy to lure countries into its debt trap beguiled Sri Lanka to be dependent heavily on China for economic support, and military equipment.
Sri Lanka also took loans in bulk for various development projects. But during the recent crisis in the country, when for months, Sri Lanka has been pleading with China for more support, but to no avail, Channel News Asia reported.
Beijing has done little to help the country through its devastating economic meltdown, providing far less aid than India. India moved in to alleviate Sri Lanka’s desperate food and fuel shortages with over USD 3.8 billion of assistance. Beijing, by contrast, provided a relatively paltry USD 74 million.