No approval yet for Chinese ship to dock: FM Sabry

No approval given yet for controversial Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 to dock in Sri Lanka: Sabry

by Staff Writer 26-09-2023 | 10:10 AM

Colombo (News 1st) - Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said that the controversial Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 has not been given approval to dock in Sri Lankan ports, since Indian security concerns are an important factor, but that negotiations are ongoing, Indian media reported Tuesday (26th).

Asian News International (ANI) reported from New York that Sabry said that Sri Lanka has a standard operating procedure (SOP) and has consulted many friends, including India.

"That's a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP (standard operating procedure). When we were making that, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn't comply with the SOP, we have a problem," Ali Sabry told ANI.

He said that Sri Lanka has not given permission for the Chinese vessel Shi Yan 6 to dock in October, adding that negotiations are going on.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe too had said that an SPO had been worked out for foreign vessels.

The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).

US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6's visit.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, "The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA_SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific."

Sabry told Nuland that Sri Lanka had worked out the SOP to be followed by foreign ships and aircraft in carrying out any activity in Sri Lankan territory, according to the Daily Mirror report.

Reportedly, he told her that Sri Lanka had been even-handed in this approach for all nations and could not exclude China from the process. The two leaders held a meeting on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Last year, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, while commenting on Chinese vessel Yuan Wang-5 which had docked in Sri Lanka, said that any developments that have a bearing on India's security are "obviously of an interest to us".

"What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security obviously are of an interest to us," Mr. Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.

(Courtesy ANI)