The Sri Lanka Government today (August 12) granted permission for the Chinese tracking vessel Yuang Wang 5 to dock at the Hambantota Port after the Indian and US Governments failed to give “concrete reasons” for why they opposed its arrival.
Yuang Wang 5 will now berth at the Hambantota International Port on August 16, five days later than scheduled. It was originally due to arrive on August 11. This was delayed after India raised strong concerns citing national security.
Sri Lanka requested China to defer the visit until “further consultations” were held on the matter. The vessel abruptly changed track earlier this week. However, it is now heading towards Hambantota again.
Concerns about the ship were also raised by US Ambassador Julie Chung at a meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday. She was requested to provide firm reasons for opposing its arrival.
The same message was conveyed to Indian diplomats by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry on Tuesday.
As both parties did not offer “concrete reasons”, the Sri Lanka Government granted the go-ahead. The docking of the ship has turned into a geopolitical headache for the Sri Lankan Government.
Clearance to anchor the vessel was granted by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Defence Ministry and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) before President Wickremesinghe took over. But Indian news reports claim that New Delhi had not been informed at the time until it sought clarification from Colombo.