Reacting strongly to Sri Lanka’s request to delay the visit of a tracking vessel that was due to arrive this week and had aroused India’s concerns, China today (8) described India’s opposition to the visit as “senseless” and “urged” New Delhi to “not disturb normal exchanges” between the two countries, the Hindu reported.
According to the Indian media, the Yuan Wang 5 tracking and survey vessel had last month been given clearance by Sri Lanka to stop in the port of Hambantota from August 11 to 17 to carry out replenishment.
The visit of a space and satellite tracking vessel for close to a week had, however, aroused concerns in New Delhi, and last week, Sri Lanka’s government conveyed to China that it wanted the visit deferred “until further consultations” were made.
Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong reportedly sought a meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday, following receiving the note verbale from the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry requesting a delay in the visit.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday hit out at opposition to the visit, terming it “senseless” .“We have noted the relevant report,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in response to a question on Sri Lanka’s deferral request.
“I would like to reiterate two points. Sri Lanka is a transportation hub in the Indian Ocean. Many scientific exploration ships including from China have stopped in the ports of Sri Lanka for supplies. China always exercised freedom of navigation in the high seas and fully respects jurisdiction of coastal states of scientific exploration activities within their jurisdiction waters.”
He added that “Sri Lanka is a sovereign state” and “can develop relations with other countries in the light of its own development interests. ”“The cooperation of China and Sri Lanka is independently chosen by the two countries and does not target third parties,” he said. “Citing the concept of security concerns is senseless to pressure Sri Lanka.”
Without referring directly to India, Mr. Wang said China “urges relevant parties to see China’s scientific exploration in a reasonable and sensible way and stop disturbing normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Sri Lanka.” (NewsWire)