After Criticism by India, Chinese Military Survey Ship Leaves Sri Lanka port

After Criticism by India, Chinese Military Survey Ship Leaves Sri Lanka port
Chinese Military Survey Ship Leaves Sri Lanka port

Colombo - A Chinese military survey ship docked at the Chinese-built Hambantota port in Sri Lanka has left the country. The presence of the ship was met with opposition from neighboring India. "The ship left the port on Monday (22/8/2022) after staying for a week," the port company said in a statement to Reuters.

Analysts said the Yuan Wang 5 was among a group of Chinese vessels monitoring the launch of satellites, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles. India, Sri Lanka's northern neighbor, fears China could use the port as a military base.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in decades and needs financial support from China and India. Sri Lanka had delayed the ship's arrival after India expressed its refusal but later succumbed to Chinese pressure.

"The ship has now left the southern Sri Lankan port," said a statement from the Hambantota International Port Group, a partnership between the Sri Lankan government and China Merchants Port Holdings. The ship's next destination was not immediately known.

The Pentagon said the Yuan Wang ship was operated by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force. Yuan Wang 5 captain Zhang Hongwang said last week that, "The Ship Visit will deepen exchanges between China and Sri Lanka in the field of space science and technology and promote the joint progress of the two countries' aerospace industries."

China says the Hambantota port, which China Merchants leased in 2017 for 99 years, is a key part of its Belt and Road initiative linking infrastructure projects in different countries.

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