Captain of Chinese 'spy' ship snubs Sri Lankan politician who lobbied for them to dock vessel

"... Our foreign policy is 'neutral’ and any foreign war/logistic/miscellaneous ship can enter our harbour provided she is on a peaceful mission," Sarath Weerasekera had said a few days back.

Published: 16th August 2022 07:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th August 2022 07:42 PM   |  A+A-

Sri Lankan port workers hold a Chinese national flag to welcome Chinese research ship Yuan Wang 5 as it arrives in Hambantota International Port in Hambantota, Sri Lanka(Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Captain Zhang Hongwang of the Chinese surveillance ship Yuan Wang 5 that docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on Tuesday, snubbed Sarath Weerasekera (former Rear Admiral from Sri Lankan Navy turned politician) by refusing to shake hands with him or permit him to get inside the ship.

Controversy had surrounded the arrival of the ship, which was being viewed as a survellaince vessel and Sri Lanka was reportedly trying to ask the Chinese to delay its arrival – much to the dismay of the Chinese. However, it was given permission to dock at Hambantota port from August 16 to 22 and the person instrumental in getting this approval was Weerasekera who was snubbed by the Chinese Captain.

"While the Chinese say they were following Covid protocols, the fact is that basic courtesy was denied to a person who helped them dock here," say sources. Weerasekera was amongst the first to announce that permission was granted to China to dock the ship a few days back.

"Permission granted for the Chinese survey ship to enter Hambantota Port for replenishment. I was in favour of the Chinese request. Our foreign policy is 'neutral’ and any foreign war/logistic/miscellaneous ship can enter our harbour provided she is on a peaceful mission," Weerasekera had said a few days back. Weerasekera received a lot of flak from people within the island nation after he made this announcement.

"The Yuan Wang 5 ship is used for tracking and support of satellite and intercontinental ballistic missile. It is not a survey ship, and as a politician he should have checked his facts before getting them permission to dock," say sources in Colombo.

On August 15, India gifted a Dornier 228 aircraft to Sri Lanka. This aircraft is used for maritime survellaince and will be maintained by India for sometime.

"First of all, I would like to thank the Indian government and the Indian Navy who have been helping us from time immemorial," said Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on receiving the Dornier aircraft.

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