The Chinese embassy has reportedly called for an emergency meeting with the Sri Lankan government after Colombo requested that a planned Chinese ship visit be postponed after India expressed security concerns.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Chinese embassy on August 5 requesting that China postpone the arrival of the space and satellite tracking vessel Yuan Wang 5 “until further consultations are held on this issue”.
In response, the Chinese embassy called for an urgent meeting with senior Sri Lankan officials to discuss the matter, local media report. reportciting a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe also met with Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong on August 4 and reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter on territorial integrity and China’s “one China” principle. part of its territory. Only the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan recognize China’s Taiwan policy.
“Countries must refrain from provocations that further escalate current global tensions,” Wickremesinghe said. Post to Twitteremphasized the need for “mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of each country.”
Sri Lanka’s postponement request comes after India warned it would take “all necessary measures” to protect against Chinese ships scheduled to enter Hambantota port from Aug. 11 to Aug. 17 “for refueling purposes.” It was conducted.
The crisis-stricken country has also initiated diplomatic talks with both India and China to reach a “friendly solution” regarding the ship’s arrival to avoid potential conflict.
The Yuanwang No. 5 vessel will be used to carry out “satellite control and survey tracking of Chinese satellites in the northwestern Indian Ocean region in August and September.” Sri Lanka’s Belt and Road Initiative.
according to maritime traffic, The research vessel left Jiangyin, China on July 13 and is currently sailing in the East China Sea to Hambantota.
Local media reported that the former government approved the docking of ships in the port just one day before July 12, amid mass protests that have thrown the government into turmoil.
The Sri Lankan government leased the strategic port to China for 99 years in 2017 after failing to repay a $1.4 billion loan.
India is concerned that Hambantota port, built and leased by China, will be used by China as a military base in India’s backyard. The $1.5 billion port sits near major shipping routes from Asia to Europe.
Diplomatic relations between India and China have been strained since armed forces clashed along the remote Himalayan border in 2020. At least 20 Indian soldiers and her four Chinese soldiers were killed in the battle, leading to massive military build-ups on both sides.
India’s Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar expressed in May that China hoped to restore normal relations with India, but from India’s perspective, the threat to restoring peace and tranquility on its borders is a threat to the Chinese regime. said it was an ongoing invasion by
“The frictions and tensions arising from China’s developments since April 2020 cannot be reconciled with normal relations between the two neighbors,” Jaishankar told reporters.
China is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest lenders and has also financed airports, roads and railways, upsetting India. India is providing her nearly $4 billion in aid this year alone as Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis in 70 years.
Reuters contributed to this report.