Controversial Chinese vessel to dock for refueling says Cabinet Spokesman

Cabinet Spokesman Bandhula Gunawardena today (02) said the Chinese vessel expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on August 11 will be here merely for refuelling purposes. Gunawardena said President Ranil Wickremesinghe confirmed this during the weekly cabinet briefing. 

“Sri Lanka is working closely with India and China which has helped the country at a critical time” he added. 

The arrival of the Chinese research vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’ has stirred some controversy leading India to say it was ‘carefully monitoring the development. The vessel will be in Hambantota from August 11 to 17, mainly for replenishment, including fuel, the Ministry of Defence had confirmed earlier.   

The vessel is said to be involved in space and satellite tracking, stoking fears of possible spying activities being carried out. Indian media have gone as far as calling it the ‘Spy Ship’.

However, China has said relevant parties should stay out of its legitimate maritime activities.