President meets Chinese Ambassador behind closed doors

President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Ambassador to China Qi Zhenhong met on Saturday (06), sources have confirmed.

The closed-door meeting was held at the request of the Chinese Ambassador.

The meeting took place against a backdrop where the arrival of the Chinese vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’ at Hambantota Port in located in the Sea of Sri Lanka, has sparked controversy in the region.

Initially, Sri Lankan authorities said that there was no information that such a ship would arrive.

However, a few days later, Cabinet Spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena confirmed that the ship will remain at the Hambantota port from August 11th to 17th for refueling and replenishment.

Sri Lankan authorities also pointed out that it is routine for ships of friendly nations such as India, Australia, Japan and China to visit Sri Lankan ports.

However, amid strong protest from India, the Foreign Ministry has requested for the ship’s arrival to be deferred, according to a release issued by the Ministry.

The Foreign Ministry has requested the Chinese Embassy to defer the arrival of the vessel, “until further consultations” are made between the two Governments.

Moreover, reports indicate that the Chinese Embassy will consult Beijing before responding to Sri Lankan authorities on the deferral.

Source: News 1st