Sunday, December 3, 2023

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Chinese President’s envoy visits Sri Lanka amidst another research ship arrival saga

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The US has expressed its concern to Sri Lanka about a Chinese research ship likely to dock in the island country next month, a development India too finds concerning.

A special representative of Chinese President Xi Jinping Mrs. Shin Yi Chin is scheduled to visit the island on the 18th amidst reports of another research ship to reach Colombo port early next year.

The Chinese President’s special representative’s visit to the island nation is significant following the Chinese leader’s promise given to his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickreamsighe to provide assistance for Sri Lanka without any political motives, to buy more of the island’s exports and to increase investments.

President Xi also assured that China would provide friendly, practical and timely support for Sri Lanka’s debt optimization program.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Mrs. Shin Yi Chin will stay in the country until the 21st.

During that time, Ms. Shin Yi Chin is scheduled to hold discussions with high-ranking representatives of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile China has sought permission from Sri Lanka for another one of its state-of-the-art research vessels to engage in research and survey in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Sea of Sri Lanka.

China is now requesting clearance for a vessel identified as Xiang Yang Hong 3.

Chinese officials have informed their Sri Lankan counterparts that the Xiang Yang Hong 3 is expected to engage in research within Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

According to reports, the Xiang Yang Hong 3 is to engage in the research and survey from January 5th to February 20th, next year.

The Xiang Yang Hong 03 is owned by the Third Institute of Oceanology, of the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources.

Xiang Yang Hong 03’s home port is listed as Xiamen, Fujian Province, is 99.6 metres in length, and falls under the General survey vessel.

At the same time, the Chinese geophysical scientific research vessel Shi Yan 6 which reached the Port of Colombo in October in the midst of strong concerns from India, has once again indicated that it will be heading to Colombo.

However, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said that it was not informed about the arrival of the Chinese geophysical scientific research vessel Shi Yan 6.The Shi Yan 6 continues to navigate in the Indian Ocean.

Over the years, over 17 state-of-the-art Chinese Research/Survey vessels reached the Sea of Sri Lanka since 2017.

The Xiang Yang Hong 3 had visited Sri Lanka for the first time on the 13th of December 2017, and remained in Colombo and Trincomalee for a period of 18 days.

The Xiang Yang Hong 3 returned to Sri Lanka on the 22nd of December 2019 and remained in Sri Lankan waters until the 5th of January 2020.

The Xiang Yang Hong 19 Scientific Research Vessel reached Sri Lankan waters on the 11th of February 2020 and was anchored for nine days.

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