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Saturday October 1st, 2022

Sri Lanka President reiterates sovereignty with Chinese envoy amid fresh Indian concerns

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday emphasized the United Nations charter principles on sovereignty and territorial integrity at a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Colombo amid an intensifying cold war between Beijing and Delhi with India raising fresh security concerns over a military ship calling the island nation’s port.
Chinese research and survey vessel Yuan Wang 5, a military vessel, is en route to Sri Lanka’s Chinese-biult $1.5 billion Hambantota port and due on August 11 and expected to be docked for six days. India has raised security concerns with Wickremeesinghe over what it suspects as a “spy ship”.
Wickremesinghe government has said the ship was coming to refuel as in the past and not for any other purpose. while cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawadana this week said the President had briefed on the ship and told the Cabinet that diplomatic efforts will be made with both India and China to not create any issues.
“During a meeting with H.E. Qi Zhenghong, Ambassador of China, I reiterated Sri Lanka’s firm commitment to the one-China policy, as well as to the UN Charter principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations,” Wickremesinghe said in his twitter feed.

The ship has been the latest diplomatic issue Sri Lanka is facing and the first since Wickremesinghe became the President, succeeding Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned after fleeing the country fearing for his life amid public protests that saw tens of thousands of people demanding his resignation.

China last week said it hoped “relevant parties” would refrain from interfering with its legitimate maritime activities. However, Indian officials have raised questions over the duration of refueling. The Chinese military ship is expected to be docked for six days.

China has long rejected claims of Beijing is looking for a military base in Sri Lanka while Beijing accused India of interfering in Sri Lanka that resulted in forcing Colombo government to reverse renewable energy projects through international tender process in the island nation’s north.

Wickremesinghe also said non-interference in the internal affairs of countries are important.

“Countries must refrain from provocations which further escalate the current global tensions. Mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries are important foundations for peaceful cooperation and non-confrontation,” he said in a follow up tweet. 

India is concerned that the Chinese-leased Hambantota port will be used by China as a military base in India’s backyard.

India has been the top lender to Sri Lanka this year after the economic crisis hit the grass root level. In return, Sri Lanka finalized some projects that had been dragged for a long time including oil tank farm deal in the Eastern port district of Tricomalee in which India had been eying one of the most strategic ports in Asia since 1980s.

Colombo-based political analysts and former military officials have told Economy Next that India’s intelligence agents helped to put up an unlikely coalition to defeat former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 when Rajapaksa administration allowed two nuclear submarine to be docked in Colombo port which is used for Indian transshipment of goods.

India, however, has denied such interference. (Colombo/Aug 04/2022)

Comments (2)

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  1. Jamis says:

    India has been the top lender to Sri Lanka this year after the economic crisis hit the grass root level. Part of Indian debt trap?!
    SL is an independent country. We are not a vassal of India or China or the US for that matter. We should be careful not to harm the security of anybody. But just a visit, even if it is by a so called spy ship, is not a real security threat to India. In fact, it is disturbing that India is threatening SL due to this visit. I never see China threatening SL when we invite Indians to SL. If India is a friend, it would refrain from coercion. Coercion is not a good way to build strong relationships.

  2. EMILY says:

    Is Sri-Lanka a Chinese COLONY?

View all comments (2)

Comments (2)

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Jamis says:

    India has been the top lender to Sri Lanka this year after the economic crisis hit the grass root level. Part of Indian debt trap?!
    SL is an independent country. We are not a vassal of India or China or the US for that matter. We should be careful not to harm the security of anybody. But just a visit, even if it is by a so called spy ship, is not a real security threat to India. In fact, it is disturbing that India is threatening SL due to this visit. I never see China threatening SL when we invite Indians to SL. If India is a friend, it would refrain from coercion. Coercion is not a good way to build strong relationships.

  2. EMILY says:

    Is Sri-Lanka a Chinese COLONY?